How will the X-57 be built?

An Italian Tecnam P2006T aircraft will be modified with an electric propulsion system. NASA will compare data from the Tecnam to the X-57 to measure efficiency.

Modification 1

The first phase of the X-57 mission tested the potential for electric propulsion. The LEAPTech ground tests were conducted on the lakebed outside NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Mission Directorate in California.

Image showing modification 1 of the X-57 on a truck.

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Modification 2

The second phase includes both ground and flight tests. Electric motors, batteries, and instrumentation are some of the technologies being tested in this section. A new wing design to accommodate two new engines has also been developed, but is not yet flown on the X-57 at this stage.

Artist illustration of modication 2 of the X-57.

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Modification 3

The new wing design to reposition motors is a part of the third phase. This phase, which overlaps with Modification 2 and 4, also includes building and testing additional components for the final version of the X-57.

Artist illustration of modication 3 of the X-57.

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Modification 4

Flight tests that include all fourteen motors are the major part of the final phase of testing. The two larger electric cruise motors already tested, along with 12 smaller high-lift motors, will be integrated onto the wings.

Artist illustration of modication 4 of the X-57.