NEW YORK - Archer Aviation Inc. in San Jose, California, which focuses on electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, has signed a Space Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The collaboration will begin with an initial project focused on studying high-performance battery cells and safety testing targeted for advanced air mobility (AAM) and space applications.
Archer says this agreement will push progress forward the supply chain for electric aircraft remains nascent not just here in the U.S., but globally, so this testing will help. NASA’s goal is to test Archer’s battery cell and system design and share the results to push the entire AAM industry forward. Maturing battery technology is anticipated to be a key enabling factor for the mass production and adoption of electric aviation.
Archer plans to deliver a high-performing battery for its Midnight electric air taxi, validating that these cells are tailor-made for aerospace applications, including electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), electric conventional take-off and landing (eCTOL) aircraft and potential usage in space.
As part of the joint efforts around battery characterization, NASA and Archer will focus on further testing the safety, energy, and power performance capabilities of the battery cells. Tests will be performed using one of the world's most advanced high-speed X-ray facilities, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), to understand how the cells function during extreme abuse cases. Archer has chosen these cells to power the proprietary electric powertrain system Archer has designed, developed, and is beginning to mass manufacture for its production of electric air taxi, Midnight. The battery cell form factor chosen by Archer, a cylindrical cell, has a track record of safety, performance, and scalability proven through decades of volume manufacturing, deployed across many applications globally, including in millions of electric vehicles.