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Print 27 comment(s) - last by moenkopi.. on Jul 9 at 12:35 PM


  (Source: associated press)

  (Source: associated press)
The Solar Impulse is relying on sun power as it rides around the clock and attempts night flight.

The Solar Impulse, an experimental solar plane, took off on a historic ride around the world early today from Geneva, Switzerland.   Supporters hope that this flight will prove the value of solar energy.

According to team co-founder Bertrand Piccard, a record-breaking balloonist who's father and grandfather also accomplished  pioneering airborne and submarine feats, the prototype has been designed to test and promote new energy-efficient technologies.  

"The goal of the project is to have a solar-powered plane flying day and night without fuel," Piccard said. "This flight is crucial for the credibility of the project."

Ten test flights have been completed since the project began seven months ago. The prototype aircraft is a single-seater shaped like a giant dragonfly.  It has 12,000 solar panels spread across its 207 foot (63 meter) wingspan.   The aircraft is powered by four small electric motors and will depend on the sun to charge its batteries. 

The theory is that the aircraft will store enough energy during the day to last through the night.  Pilot Andre Borschberg, a former flight jet pilot, will attempt to stay alert during the flight with the help of a ground control team that is monitoring the aircraft on the teams website

Borschberg,  57, is wearing a parachute just in case he runs into trouble in the air.



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RE: What is with all the negativity?
By TSS on 7/8/2010 9:57:14 AM , Rating: 2
The main mistake is wall of text, even the article isn't doing that :p paragraph, damn you.

Look, it's nice that their working on it, but be real: solar power doesn't nearly nor will it ever be able to power any commercially viable plane. The reason the plane looks like it does is because this is the *standard* shape for all these experimental planes. Big wings, low weight.

It looks exactly like the plane i saw somebody use to *pedal* across the english channel. How about we install 350 pedals in a boeing 747, see how much energy that gives, more then solar i'll bet.

And solar planels still have to be produced. Considering this'll be for a plane, i suspect various techniques will be used to lower weight/increase efficiency, which all require more energy to be spent in the production phase.

In closing, it's always our perogative to rip on anything we percieve as idiocy. As do you.


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