jeudi 8 juillet 2010

Successful challenge for the solar plane Solar Impulse

The fact that we can fly 24 hours around the clock with nothing but sunlight has been successfully demonstrated by Solar Impulse. Solar impulse is an experimental aircraft that has been designed by a Swiss explorer Bertrand Piccard who completed the first trip around the world with a hot air balloon in 1999. It was piloted by Andre Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of the project, a former fighter pilot.

The electro-solar plane landed today,Thursday, July 8 in the morning without incident after a flight of 26 hours only powered by solar energy and batteries.
The aircraft hit the runway at the military base of Payerne, in western Switzerland, cheered by hundreds of spectators.
The prototype, whose wings are covered with 12,000 photovoltaic cells powering four electric engines, took off Wednesday morning and continued the night flight without interruption , a first for the aircraft and the team. The lithium-polymer batteries 400kg installed on the aircraft, which have been recharged by solar panels throughout the day Wednesday, provided the energy to keep the aircraft in the air during red-eye hours. Solar Impulse had succeeded on April 7 in Switzerland its first flight about an hour and a half, the first step in a series of tests. "We did it, it's fantastic!" Said Bertrand Piccard.

The team of about 70 people plans to conduct more flights to calibrate the machine and eventually build a second copy, which will tour the world in five stops in 2013 or 2014.

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