NASA has select­ed GE Avi­a­tion and mag­niX to sup­port its Elec­tric Pow­er­train Flight Demon­stra­tion (EPFD) that will rapid­ly mature Elec­tri­fied Air­craft Propul­sion (EAP) tech­nolo­gies through ground and flight demon­stra­tions.

Through the EPFD pro­gram, NASA seeks to intro­duce EAP tech­nolo­gies to US avi­a­tion fleets no lat­er than 2035, sup­port­ing short-range and region­al com­mer­cial air trav­el, as well as sin­gle-aisle seat trans­ports.

The awards under the EPFD project announce­ment are hybrid firm fixed-price/­cost-share. The total com­bined val­ue for the awards is $253.4 mil­lion and the work will be con­duct­ed over the next five years.

Robert Pearce, asso­ciate admin­is­tra­tor for the Aero­nau­tics Research Mis­sion Direc­torate at NASA Head­quar­ters in Wash­ing­ton, said: “By tak­ing these con­cepts to flight, NASA and its part­ners will accel­er­ate the tran­si­tion of EAP tech­nolo­gies into com­mer­cial prod­ucts and be a cat­a­lyst for eco­nom­ic growth.

“We expect to realise sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments in the eco­nom­ic and envi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance of sub­son­ic trans­ports through incor­po­ra­tion of these nov­el alter­na­tive propul­sion and ener­gy tech­nolo­gies into the fleet.”

Over five years, both GE Avi­a­tion and mag­niX will con­duct ground and flight test demon­stra­tions of their EAP tech­nolo­gies applic­a­ble to com­mer­cial air­craft trans­ports. Ear­li­er this year, mag­niX devel­oped the 750-horse­pow­er (560 kW) magni500 propul­sion sys­tem which was used in the world’s largest all-elec­tric com­mer­cial air­craft. It com­plet­ed its first maid­en test flight ear­li­er this year.

They will col­lab­o­rate with oth­er NASA projects on EAP devel­op­ment, flight test instru­men­ta­tion, and data analy­sis. And they will stim­u­late spi­ral devel­op­ments of megawatt-class EAP sys­tems and tech­nol­o­gy.

Gaudy Bezos‑O’Connor, EPFD project man­ag­er at NASA’s Lan­g­ley Research Cen­ter in Vir­ginia, added: “GE Avi­a­tion and Mag­niX will per­form inte­grat­ed megawatt-class pow­er­train sys­tem ground and flight demon­stra­tions to val­i­date their con­cepts, and project ben­e­fits for future EAP air­craft con­fig­u­ra­tions.

“These demon­stra­tions will iden­ti­fy and retire tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers and inte­gra­tion risks. It will also help inform the devel­op­ment of stan­dards and reg­u­la­tions for future EAP sys­tems.”

The EPFD project is a part of NASA’s Inte­grat­ed Avi­a­tion Sys­tems Pro­gram (IASP) which con­ducts flight-ori­ent­ed, sys­tem-lev­el research and tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ment to mature and tran­si­tion advanced aero­nau­tic tech­nolo­gies into future air vehi­cles and oper­a­tional sys­tems. IASP focus­es on the exe­cu­tion of high­ly com­plex flight tests and relat­ed exper­i­ments to sup­port all phas­es of NASA’s aero­nau­tics research.