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Manned solar plane will be the first to penetrate stratosphere

09 December 2016

SolarStratos, the 8.5m aircraft, has a wingspan of 24.8m, weighs 450kg and is covered with 22m2 of solar panels to demonstrate the latest tech on offer.

SolarStratos (Credit: SolarStratos)

It will be the first manned solar-powered aeroplane to penetrate the stratosphere.

“This is a great day for the SolarStratos team,” said Raphael Domjan, creator of PlanetSolar, the first solar-powered boat to do a circumnavigation in 2012 and the initiator and pilot of the SolarStratos project.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that current technology offers us the possibility to achieve above and beyond what fossil fuels offer. Electric and solar vehicles are amongst the major challenges of the 21st century. Our aircraft can fly at an altitude of 25,000m and this opens the door to the possibility of electric and solar commercial aviation, close to space.”

SolarStratos (Credit: SolarStratos)

Reaching the stratosphere over the past century has required large quantities of energy or helium. The SolarStratos aircraft offers clean solar and electric aviation for the equivalent environmental footprint of an electric car.

“We are extremely pleased with the positive feedback and encouragement that we have received,” said Roland Loos, CEO of SolarXplorers S.A., the organisation in charge of the development and future applications of this endeavour. “Our project brings hope and makes both children and adults dream. It also opens the door to new scientific knowledge – at an affordable price, exploration and the peaceful use of our stratosphere.”

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