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NASA Tests Propellers for X-57 Maxwell Electric Plane; Nick Borer Quoted

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Propeller Testing
Propeller Testing NASA

NASA has tested the propeller technology designed to boost the X-57 Maxwell, the space agency's first X-plane completely powered by electricity.

NASA said Monday that it ran the tests through a low-speed aeroacoustic wind tunnel facility to know how the propellers would perform in certain flight conditions, such as those with wind speeds exceeding 90 knots.

Empirical Systems Aerospace provided the prototype propeller assemblies designed for use in low-speed flight scenarios. Maxwell's final configuration will use 12 of the propellers. The two-week testing was done at the Virginia-based Langley Research Center.

"The X-57 project is using these tests to determine the as-built performance versus our models, so that we have high confidence in the performance of these propellers when we get to flight," said Nick Borer, who leads the Advanced Concepts Group at Langley’s aeronautics systems analysis branch.

Borer added the data would inform the aircraft's design review required for flight hardware production.