20 June 2016 Current Affairs: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 17 June 2016 unveiled the iconic X-57 Hybrid Electric Research Plane nicknamed as Maxwell.The plane is fixed with 14 electric motors turning propellers and all of them are integrated into a uniquely-designed wing. NASA will use this plane to test new propulsion technology.
Highlights of X-57 Hybrid Electric Research Plane : The airplane is named after James Clerk Maxwell, the 19th century Scottish physicist who did groundbreaking work in electromagnetism.The artist's concept of the X-57 shows the plane's specially designed wing and 14 electric motors.
NASA Aeronautics researchers will use the Maxwell to demonstrate that how electric propulsion can make planes quieter, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.
Maxwell will be powered only by batteries, eliminating carbon emissions and demonstrating how demand would shrink for lead-based aviation fuel still in use by general aviation.Energy efficiency at cruise altitude using X-57 technology could benefit travellers by reducing flight times, fuel usage, as well as reducing overall operational costs for small aircraft.
Moreover, X-57’s electric propulsion technology is expected to significantly decrease aircraft noise, making it less annoying to the public.
With the return of piloted X-planes to NASA’s research capabilities, the general aviation-sized X-57 will take the first step in opening a new era of aviation.
The first X-plane was the X-1, which in 1947 became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. The X-1 project defined and solidified the post-war cooperative union between US military needs, industrial capabilities and research facilities.
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