The batteries have posed the biggest challenge so far, says Sean Clarke, NASA principal investigator for the X-57. The packs provide 47 kWh of energy and weigh close to 900 lb., an increase of more than 10% over the original goal. “They have used up our mass margin,” says Clarke, speaking at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Aviation 2017 conference in Denver on June 8. Part of the reason is the structure required to ensure safety, as the heavy ...

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