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NASA unveils its first electric airplane

NASA unveils its first electric airplane

NASA unveiled its first all-electric aircraft amid efforts by the aviation industry to cut emissions of carbon dioxide (C02) from planes to tackle climate changes. The US space agency showcased the X-57 Maxwell in California on 8th November 2019. It has been developing the small craft since 2015.

Key Points:

  • It has two large 14 electric motors that will ultimately propel the plane - powered by specially designed lithium-ion batteries.
  • It has a newly built simulator which will allow 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.
  • Maxwell is the latest experimental aircraft the National Aeronautics and Space Administration had developed over decades. It has many purposes, which includes 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.
  • Electric motor systems are more compact with fewer moving parts than internal-combustion engines; they are simpler to maintain and weigh much less, requiring less energy to fly. They also are quieter than conventional engines.

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