NASA has often pushed the boundaries of technology through its many programs and some of that technology eventually trickled down to the commercial market.
Now they are working on a small electric helicopter that they plan to fly on Mars during the 2020 mission.
Tier 1 Engineering unveiled the first battery-powered manned helicopter. The engineering firm retrofitted a used Robinson R44 helicopter with two electric motors powered by a large battery pack made by Brammo, the electric motorcycle maker turned battery pack manufacturer, fitted on the underbody of the aircraft.
The vehicle, which completed its inaugural flight just last month, serves as a proof-of-concept and test mule while Tier 1 Engineering develops a more advanced electric helicopter with its partners under the ‘EPSAROD’ development program.