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31 mei, 2023

Cosmic Aerospace develops motor for new electric aircraft at DronePort

Cosmic Aerospace, an innovative startup with American-Belgian roots that recently raised €1.5 million in venture capital, is building a new electric aircraft. Therefore it develops revolutionary technology for a new type of engine at DronePort, the leading innovation center for aviation in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. The collaboration between Cosmic Aerospace and DronePort highlights the unique value that DronePort offers as a facilitator for cutting-edge aerospace research.

Sustainability in aviation

One of Cosmic Aerospace’s founders, Christopher Chahine, is an aeronautics researcher. “Before we started Cosmic Aerospace, I was working on jet engine design at a leading research institute in Belgium. I noticed that many companies in the aerospace industry were making only minor improvements to existing technologies, without offering truly sustainable solutions to the industry’s challenges. Frustrated by this lack of progress, I founded Cosmic Aerospace with two partners, with the goal of developing an all-electric aircraft that would structurally address the sustainability problems in aviation.”

Limited flight range is the biggest obstacle to electric aircraft. Current battery technologies do not have enough energy density to cover long distances. “Weight is the most important factor here. In fact, you need a multiple in the weight of batteries to replace the equivalent of traditional fuels, and especially in aviation that is a problem.” Cosmic Aerospace decided to address this problem by designing a highly energy-efficient aircraft combined with an advanced electric motor.

1000 kilometers

The result is an engine that offers comparable thrust and efficiency compared to conventional combustion engines, but with much higher efficiency. “That allows us to cover a large part of the aviation market, because about 50% of all global flights actually only have a range of less than 1,000 kilometers, and that is somewhat our long-term goal,” Chahine claims. The aircraft will seat about 25 passengers, making it an ideal aircraft to make short flights with a limited number of passengers more sustainable.

3D model of the prototype aircraft being developed by Cosmic Aerospace in Colorado, US

To develop and test this groundbreaking engine, Cosmic Aerospace chose DronePort as its partner. DronePort offers state-of-the-art facilities in aviation technology and innovation. The collaboration with Cosmic Aerospace shows that DronePort is thus not only a test center for drones, but also an ideal location for pioneers in the development of new aviation technologies. “We built our engine in the workshop space we rent there, and were able to test it extensively in the aircraft hangar. It took some effort to set up our workshop with all the necessary equipment, but in the end we found all the facilities we needed in DronePort,” Chahine said.

Thanks to the successful development of the new engine in DronePort, Cosmic Aerospace has reached important milestones in their development process targeting an all-electric aircraft. In parallel, the Cosmic Aerospace team is working on the design and construction of the aircraft frame. They are doing that in Colorado, America. “For now, we are focusing there on building an experimental prototype. Looking to the future, we are considering the possibility of expanding production to multiple locations, including America and Europe,” Chahine says.

Flight-ready by 2025

According to Cosmic Aerospace’s latest projections, they expect the prototype electric aircraft to be flight-ready by the end of 2025. The company will conduct extensive testing to ensure it meets the most stringent safety and performance standards. The fully operational electric aircraft is expected to be available for commercial flights within five years, depending on the success of the testing phase and approvals from aviation authorities.

Prototype of the electric motor that Cosmic Aerospace is developing and testing in the DronePort hangar

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Pioneering the future of aviation: DronePort and the ‘Indiana – Flanders’ MoU

Pioneering the future of aviation: DronePort and the ‘Indiana – Flanders’ MoU

In 2023, the MoU ‘Indiana – Flanders’ was signed at the Governor’s office in Indianapolis, setting the stage for regional collaboration and innovation. Recently, Governor Eric Holcomb visited Flanders to meet with Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon and key leaders in autonomous driving and AI, hosted by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT). Our CEO, Ward Decaluwe, presented DronePort’s mission and vision, showcasing the potential of our business park for local and international companies eager to grow in these expanding markets.

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