Archer and NASA sign Space Act Agreement
Archer has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to safety test the battery cells which will power its aircraft Midnight.
The agreement begins with a project focused on high-performance battery cells with advanced air mobility (AAM) and space use cases, like Archer’s Midnight. Conducted at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), tests will address areas such as avoiding side wall rupture and defining cell design factors that improve longevity and robustness regardless of flight conditions. Overall the joint effort will provide validation of 21,700 battery cells, according to sources close to the deal. That is enough for about three aircraft as one Midnight holds six battery packs each containing more than 1,000 cells.
“We’re extremely proud to partner with NASA, who has pioneered the eVTOL industry over the last three-plus decades, in support of our collective mission to ensure US leadership in aerospace continues for decades to come,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s Founder and CEO. “Many countries around the world are challenging the US in this new era of flight and our country is at risk of losing its global leadership position unless we work together, government and industry, to ensure we seize the moment and pioneer this new era of aviation technology, which stands to benefit all Americans.”
NASA said its goal is to test Archer’s battery cell and system design and share the results to push the AAM industry forward as a whole. The battery cell form factor Archer has gone for, a cylindrical cell, has a track record of safety, performance and scalability proven through decades of volume manufacturing, it said. Whilst not aviation-specific, the cylindrical cell form factor is used in many applications, including millions of electric vehicles.
Reacting to the news on social media, Mark Moore CEO Whisper Aero said: “NASA was the first in developing eVTOL’s technology foundation in 2006 through bold efforts like Puffin, GL-10, LeapTech and X-57. Now industry leads the next stage to commercialise and get this new transportation capability into the public.
“Really proud to see private-public partnerships promote a commitment to the highest level of safety. Midnight’s battery team is simply amazing and I am bought into their proven cylindrical cell approach as being the safest and most balanced approach to battery electric aviation,” he added.