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X-57 Electric Airplane

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X-57 Electric Airplane super computing image with a yellow background and streaks of red and yellow on the end propeller.



Grade Levels

Grades K-4, Grades 5-8, Grades 9-12, Informal Education


Physical Science, Flight and Aeronautics


Lesson Plans / Activities

X-57 Electric Airplane

The X-57 Electric Airplane STEM Learning Module will help students learn about NASA’s X-57 Maxwell and the science behind electric propulsion. The X-57 is an experimental aircraft designed to test operating multiple electric motors for use in turning propellers – an idea known as “distributed electric propulsion.” The program’s goal is to demonstrate that an all-electric airplane is more efficient, quieter and more environmentally friendly. Knowledge gained from this research will help engineers design future electric-powered aircraft for everything from urban air mobility to moving passengers and cargo between nearby cities.

STEM Learning Activities

Ohm’s Law
Students will be creating simple paper circuits and using a voltmeter to measure current.

X-57 Scratch Coding Activity
Students discover how lift, propulsion, and distributed electric propulsion combine with NASA’s X-57 with this drag-and-drop coding activity utilizing Scratch.

Hands-On Circuitry: Paper Circuit Helicopter
Create a paper circuit on a paper helicopter as a hands-on introduction to circuitry and propulsion.

X-57: How Do Batteries Store and Transfer Energy?
Using readily-available materials, make a simple battery and test its energy output.

Electric Propulsion: The Science Behind the X-57 Maxwell
Four education activities introduce batteries, lift, and the science behind the X-57 aircraft.

Literacy Skills

X-57 Mini Poster (English and Spanish available)

X-57 Bookmark (English and Spanish available)

The X-57 Digital Experience
Explore the technologies and X-57 mission through this interactive web page.