Meet Maxwell – NASA’s Electric Plane
NASA Electric Plane reduces 40% of fuel consumption and flight time, as well as operating costs.
One engine is good, two is better, and what about 10? It is what NASA tested, a model of a decamped electric plane, with vertical takeoff right.
In the 1950s the USA and CCCP lived the dazzle of the nuclear era, which would be the solution to everything. Then they had the brilliant idea of building nuclear-powered planes. They would be bombers with virtually unlimited autonomy, without needing to refuel.
They even did tests until one realized that a nuclear reactor + little or no armour would guarantee that their crew would have weird children. On two sides someone with good judgment cancelled the project.
This complicated the lives of those who planned electric planes, because with batteries if the energy is over, it’s over, you cannot refuel, you fall.
That was always my position until the day I felt it was stupid. Unless you’re a close friend of the USAF and get a KC-130 when you need it, whether it’s a battery or gasoline, it’s going to fall if you run out of fuel.
The big problem with electric airplanes is autonomy, batteries are heavy, but this has been changing, experimental aircraft already exist, usually are solar models, such as NASA’s Helios.
The age of X-57 – A latest electric plane
Last year, NASA announced its intention to innovate the aviation industry by adhering to the technology of fully electric aircraft.
At the time, the idea was that commercial flights in this type of aircraft could be started within 20 years.
In a small step towards that goal, the space agency has just revealed plans for the X-57, with the first announcement of an electric plane of the famous X-plane series.
The aircraft, dubbed “Maxwell,” demonstrates fundamental engineering ideas that could be incorporated into the most ambitious carbon-free prototypes of the future.
Nicknamed Maxwell is in honour of the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell who conducted pioneering research on electromagnetism in the 19th century. The technology aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the emission of gaseous pollutants.
How does Electric PlaneWork?
Main among the innovations of the X-57 is its propulsion system. It consists of fourteen electric motors positioned on the wings of the aircraft.
The idea is that the motors are powered by batteries. They can be charged to the ground using solar cells, following the recent technological investments of other electric vehicles.
It was designed to use 5 times less energy than a normal plane.
The expectation is that through the distribution of electric power throughout the wing, the airplane reduces the energy required for the entire route.
It can reach approximately 280 kilometres per hour. As the propulsion is entirely electric, the airplane does not emit carbon dioxide. However, in comparison to this the Alice, an electric plane, capable to fly 650 miles with a single charge,
According to NASA, the plane is made up of 12 smaller engines. They distribute energy to each other for takeoffs and landings, and two other large engines used to keep the plane at cruising altitude.
Since electric propulsion allows the aircraft to travel below its maximum capacity. The technology aims to reduce fuel consumption and flight time, as well as reduce operating costs by 40%.
Maxwell will also be quieter, as is expected from a transport model that uses electric motors.
According to the US space agency, the X-57 is part of a project to develop more energy-efficient aircraft in 10 years, called New Aviation Horizons.
The plane marks yet another episode of the so-called “x-planes,” experimental planes made by the United States to test new technologies.
According to the American space agency, the first of its kind was known in 1947 and was called x-1 (the first aircraft to break the sound barrier).
“A lot of x-planes of all sizes, shapes and proposals followed – and all contributed to our being world leaders in aviation and space technologies. Aircraft like X-57 and the next to come, help us keep this role, “said Jaiwon Shin, director of NASA’s Board of Aviation Research Missions.
According to the space agency, the X-57 will be built from the modification of an Italian twin-engine aircraft, Tecnam P2006T.
If the initiative has good repercussions, perhaps “Maxwell” will mark the beginning of major changes in the aviation industry: quieter, cheaper and pollution-free aircraft.
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