NASA’s all-electric X-57 Maxwell has completed another milestone toward first flight; the successful completion of high-voltage testing.
High-voltage testing powers the aircraft from an auxiliary power supply to test the functionality of the integrated systems under full power.
A highlight from high-voltage testing included the spinning of the propellers for the first time under electric power. Though the propellers had previously spun during the X-57’s initial build phase conducted by the small business prime contractor Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. at Scaled Composites in Mojave, it is now up to NASA engineers to advance the system and use lessons learned from previous tests. The propellers are powered by electric cruise motors, which will also be used to power the X-57 in flight.
A principal goal of the X-57 project is to share the X-57 design and airworthiness process with regulators and standards organizations. Another goal is to establish the X-57 as a reference platform for integrated approaches of distributed electric propulsion technologies. Next up, X-57 will undergo verification and validation testing.