Latest in Science

Image credit:

NASA's X-48C hybrid wing-body plane completes first test flight

Alexis Santos
August 8, 2012
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

After planting a rover firmly on Mars' surface and testing a new methane-fueled lander, NASA has squeezed in the first test flight of its X-48C hybrid wing-body aircraft. Thanks to its design, which combines those of flying-wing and conventional planes, the X-48 could offer 20 to 30 percent more fuel-efficiency, greater fuel capacity and a quieter ride in its final form than traditional craft. The finished model has a projected range of 11,000 nautical miles and a 240-foot wingspan. As an 8.5 percent scale of the full-sized airplane, the remotely piloted prototype weighs in at 500 pounds with a 20-foot wingspan. During the test, it successfully took to the skies for nine minutes and peaked at an altitude of 5,500 feet -- though it's capable of soaring for 35 minutes and climbing nearly twice as high. Another version of the craft (likely with a human behind the flight stick) is estimated to be at least four years down the road, and the final model isn't expected to arrive for another decade.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Facebook will not ban Oculus owners with multiple VR headsets (updated)

Facebook will not ban Oculus owners with multiple VR headsets (updated)

View
Samsung, Stanford make a 10,000PPI display that could lead to 'flawless' VR

Samsung, Stanford make a 10,000PPI display that could lead to 'flawless' VR

View
Garmin smartwatches are on sale at all-time low prices at Amazon

Garmin smartwatches are on sale at all-time low prices at Amazon

View
GitHub takes down YouTube video download tools after an RIAA notice

GitHub takes down YouTube video download tools after an RIAA notice

View
YouTube mobile app now lets you search with your voice while casting

YouTube mobile app now lets you search with your voice while casting

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr