ESAero announces NASA X-57 Project Milestone

X-57 Tooling Fuselage at Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. (ESAero)

“We want to quickly provide lessons learned to the aviation industry to help them to develop and safely fly new all-electric and hybrid-electric aircraft that have so many potential benefits,” Tom Rigney, NASA X-57 Project Manager

Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. (ESAero) announced today a key NASA X-57 project milestone, the arrival of the “Maxwell” tooling fuselage at ESAero’s manufacturing and integration facility in San Luis Obispo, California. ESAero will conduct the parallel processes of fit check and integration of the X-57 Mod III wing, power, and instrumentation systems. Concurrently, the original flight fuselage will undergo Mod II flight test at NASA Armstrong in 2018.

ESAero actions to perform fit check and integration procedures in parallel with the Mod II flight test will conserve up to 5 months of schedule from the project timeline, enabling Mod III flights to happen earlier in the program. The team plans to demonstrate an energy efficiency improvement of five (5) times over normal cruise profiles.

The new, X-57 Mod III wing is an all-composite, purpose-built, high-aspect ratio wing designed and fabricated as a collaboration between ESAero, NASA, and another small business, Xperimental, LLC. During the project, the wing will be outfitted with two large, electric cruise motors and twelve small electric motors for enhanced takeoff and landing performance. The fuselage will contain approximately eight hundred (800) pounds of batteries and structure to power the full X-57 electric propulsion system.

“This tooling fuselage significantly reduces overall project duration by giving engineers at ESAero and Xperimental the…

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