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SCI/TECH: Space technologies aid solar-powered global flight bid

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posted on Apr, 2 2004 @ 02:46 AM

In March 1999, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, on board "Breitling Orbiter 3", accomplished what was considered to be the last great aviation adventure of the 20 th century: the first ever non-stop round-the-world flight in a balloon. Piccard has now launched 'Solar Impulse' to repeat his global circumnavigation, this time in a pollution-free solar-powered aircraft.

ESA news story

ESA's Technology Transfer Programme is to supply state-of-the-art technologies to assist adventurer Bertrand Piccard's flight around the world in a single-pilot solar-powered aircraft, as the ultimate demonstration of the potential for pollution-free flight.

This ambitious project is being presented at the '32nd International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products' to open in Geneva, Switzerland, this week.

The proposed aircraft resembles a glider, but with a mammoth 70-metre wingspan, exceeding that of a Boeing 747. Completely covered by solar cells and equipped with possibly two tail-mounted propeller engines, the plane will be capable of unassisted take-off and will carry the necessary batteries for night flying.

Solar Impulse project website

Related project
NASA's Helios
Helios solar powered UAV

[Edited on 2-4-2004 by Zion Mainframe]


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