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Head of NASA highlights innovation coming out of Kern County

Posted: 11:41 AM, Aug 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-29 18:43:47Z

Trump's pick to head up NASA paid a visit to Kern County for the first time. Jim Bridenstine toured Edwards Flight Research Center and The Mojave Air and Space Port where he talked about the future of space, aeronautics and innovation coming out of Kern County.

"This is what NASA does. We push the very edge of the envelope not just on technology but on capability," said Bridenstine.

He discussed how NASA's return to the moon would be different.

"We are going sustainably. In other words we are not going to repeat Apollo again. Its not going to be flags and footprints and when we come home we never go back," he said.

Bridenstine also highlighted the groundbreaking aeronautics innovation coming from Kern County.

"We are working on a new generation of X planes at NASA," said Bridenstine.

According to officials, for the first time in decades NASA will be delving back into experimental planes with the X-57 Maxwell. It's been called the 'Tesla of the sky' as the first ever fully electric piloted plane and it's being integrated and tested in Kern County.

"We are converting it to electric by replacing the gas engines with electric motors," said NASA X-57 Chief Engineer Matt Redifer.

The final version of the X-57 is expected to be 500% more efficient, quieter and produce zero in flight emissions. It's expected to take flight in 2021.

"This is an aircraft that is on the brink of being able to fly," said Bridenstine.

Officials say the goal of perfecting the technology is to get the commercial industry on board. They say with higher efficiency, it could potentially make flying commercially more inexpensive to consumers.

NASA says because they are releasing the technology publicly as they create it, they are getting a step ahead.

"An advantage that we have with this aircraft is that we are commercializing the technologies as we are developing it," said Redifer.

NASA says it's unchartered territory that could revolutionize the way that people travel commercially across the country and across the world.

"Some people are afraid of change. We at NASA are not," said Bridenstine. "We embrace it and we want to improve the human condition even more."