Solar Impulse is a solar-powered plane that will be taking to the skies soon on its first manned night flight. The flight will begin at the end of June, 2010 and will fly during the day to charge its solar cells, then this energy will be stored in its batteries to help power the electric motors at night.
Andre Borschberg, the project’s founders will use this flight as a test in the hope of a first manned flight around the world in this solar-powered plane – this should happen sometime on 2013. Borschberg hopes that these tests will show to us that solar-powered crafts can not only fly during the day but at night as well.
Solar Impulse, which is known as HB-SIA has a wingspan of 61 m – almost the same as a Boeing 747 – although it weighs in at just 1.5t, Katia Moskvitch from BBC News explains that this is just the weight of a standard salon car. This is not the first flight for Impulse, back in 2009 the plane performed a series of short test flights – it was not until April just gone that the craft completed its first full day flight.
Borschberg knows that we as a race need to reduce our carbon emissions and our dependency on fossil fuels – we just hope that the test at the end of the month is a successful one