Friday, 09 Jul, 2010 Current Events

Solar Impulse Makes First Night Flight


This week, the solar powered plane called Solar Impulse, which we previously wrote about, has performed its first night flight in Switzerland. This is one of the most important steps towards the main goal, i.e. to fly around the world non-stop. It is worth mentioning that the trip around the world is expected to take place in 2012/2013.

The plane has a wingspan of 63 meters, is covered by 11,628 solar cells and features 400 kilograms of batteries that provide energy to Solar Impulse's 4 electric engines, each being able to generate 10 HP.

Solar Impulse started its flight from the Payerne airbase in the morning of July 7th. During the day the plane gained altitude and gathered energy that would power it at night. Batteries were fully charged by 4:40pm and the plane gained an altitude of 8,700 meters.

At the end of the day the plane started a slow descent to a height of about 1,500 meters. The energy in the onboard batteries was enough to allow the plane to register the longest and highest flight than any other solar powered airplane so far.

For the main goal of flying around the world the engineers will build a second solar-powered plane. More information regarding the project you can find here.

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