NASA Gets Back Into X-Planes with X-57 NASA’s distributed electric propulsion (DEP) experimental aircraft has been designated the X-57 Maxwell, the first NASA-only X-plane since the hypersonic X-43 of the early-2000s. The agency hopes the small, low-cost X-57 is the precursor to a new series of larger X-planes. A modified Tecnam P2006T light aircraft, the X-57 is designed to demonstrate the potential of DEP to increase aircraft efficiency. The X-plane is named for scientist James ...

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