NASA Unveils Its First All-Electric Experimental Aircraft

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California: NASA showcased its first all-electric experimental aircraft, the X-57 “Maxwell,” on Friday at its lesser-known aeronautics lab in the California desert.

Adapted from a Italian-made Tecnam P2006T twin-engine propeller plane, the X-57 has been under development since 2015 and remains at least a year away from its first test flight in the skies over Edward Air Force Base.

NASA also showed off a newly built simulator that allows engineers, and pilots, to get the feel of what it will be like to manoeuvre the finished version of the X-57 in flight, even as the plane remains under development.

The Maxwell is the latest in a proud line of experimental aircraft the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has developed over many decades for many purposes, including the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 that first broke the sound barrier and the X-15 rocket plane flown by Neil Armstrong before he joined the Apollo moon team.

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