Boeing drone dressed as 'Star Wars' X-wing lands at Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

On Dec. 4, 2019, Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort held a dedication ceremony for the new “Rise of the Resistance” immersive attraction within the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge compound — and two remotely piloted, heavy-duty Boeing drones wearing X-wing fighter skins were the soaring stars of the evening’s performance.

This pair of specially dressed-up drones that began life as Boeing CV2 Cargo Air Vehicles (CAV) appeared in the Orlando night sky, rising over a simulated mountain range for the livestreamed presentation.

Now, one of the unique electric craft still sporting its X-wing overlay is being welcomed to its new home, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, which is part of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Related: Disney’s new ‘Rise of the Resistance’ ride puts you in an epic ‘Star Wars’ battle

For the 2019 project, Boeing paired up with Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development to affix X-wing “body shells” on two next-generation CAVs for the event christening the “Star Wars” thrill ride. This themed CAV is being offered as a gift from Boeing and Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development.

“While lightweight delivery drones are being tested at a number of locations around the nation, the development of heavier vertical takeoff and landing cargo drones for military and commercial use is one of the most promising areas of autonomous aircraft development,” said Roger Connor, vertical flight curator at the museum, in an official statement.

The Boeing Cargo Air Vehicle was the first of these allowed to perform a commercial flight in the United States — in this instance, carrying a ‘Star Wars’ X-wing shell that was used at Walt Disney World,” Connor added.

an insect-looking black drone hovers in mid-airan insect-looking black drone hovers in mid-air

an insect-looking black drone hovers in mid-air


— ‘Star Wars’: Summary of the franchise and its effect on space technology

— Iconic ‘Star Wars’ X-wing fighter finds a new home at the Smithsonian Museum

— Take a journey through Disney’s ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’

According to the Smithsonian’s press release, Boeing began developing these all-electric uncrewed CAVs back in 2017, when they were initially designed to haul up to 500 pounds (225 kilograms) of cargo. Decked out in its geeky X-wing regalia, the donated aircraft has a total wingspan of 20.2 feet (6.2 meters) and is powered by 128-kilowatt direct-drive electrical motors.

“As Disney Imagineers, we leverage new and emerging technology in service of the story-driven experiences we create,” added Scott Trowbridge, senior creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering. “Our work to bring a ‘real’ X-wing to the skies above Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the opening of a new attraction was not only spectacular, but a moment representative of the immersive ‘Star Wars’ experience coming to life.”

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