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Nasa’s all-electric X-57 plane is preparing to fly

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NASA’s “all-electric” plane X-57 is set to take off

NASA’s “all-electric” plane X-57 is soon set to take off, the US space agency. The plane has 14 propellers along its wings and is powered entirely by electricity. Recently, NASA’s X-57 Maxwell performed successful thermal testing of its cruise motor controllers. Thermal testing is important because it validates the design, operability, and workmanship quality of aircraft controllers. The controllers have temperature-sensitive parts and must be able to withstand extreme conditions during flight.

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About the NASA’s “all-electric” plane X-57 

  • The X-57 uses lithium batteries to run electric motors for its propellers.
  • The cruise motor controllers convert the energy stored in the aircraft’s lithium-ion batteries to power the aircraft’s motors. However, the energy of lithium-ion batteries is 50 times less than aviation fuel.
  • The controllers use silicon carbide transistors to deliver 98% efficiency during high-power take-off and cruise, meaning they do not generate excessive heat and can be cooled off by the air flowing through the motor.
  • With a range of about 160 km and a flight time of about one hour, the X-57 is not expected to lead to a replacement technology for long-haul flying. Instead, short-hop flights with ten or so passengers are a good and potentially possible target for early, battery-powered flights.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • NASA Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States;
  • NASA Founded: 29 July 1958, United States;
  • NASA Founder: Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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