SOLAR IMPULSE WILL NOT FLY BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST
HAWAII, July 11th, 2015- Following the record breaking oceanic flight of 5 days and 5 nights (117 hours and 52 minutes) in a solar powered airplane, Solar Impulse will undergo maintenance repairs on the batteries due to damages brought about by over heating.
Despite having completed the longest and most difficult leg of the Round the World Solar Flight, the solar powered airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg has suffered battery damages due to overheating.
During the first ascend on day one of the flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the battery temperature increased too much due to over insulation. And while the Mission Team was monitoring this very closely during the mission leg, there was no way to decrease the temperature for the remaining duration of the flight as each daily cycle requires an ascend to 28’000 feet and descend for energy management issues.
The damage to certain parts of the batteries is irreversible and will require repairs and replacements that will take several weeks to work through. In parallel, the Solar Impulse engineering team is looking at various options for better management of the cooling and heating process for very long flights.
Solar Impulse does not see the possibility for any flights before 2-3 weeks at the earliest.
Solar Impulse is attempting the first ever Round-The-World solar flight to inspire innovation and pioneering spirit and encourage the adoption of clean technologies, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Having started in Abu Dhabi in early March, SI has completed 8 legs covering nearly 18’000 km thus far it its around the world journey.
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About Solar Impulse The clean tech revolution: The zero-fuel airplane
Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and driving force behind Solar Impulse, the first aircraft able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel – propelled solely by the sun’s energy. With the Si2 aircraft, they will attempt the first Round-The-World Solar Flight in 2015. Supported by Main Partners Solvay, Omega, Schindler, ABB, and Official Partners Google, Altran, Bayer MaterialScience, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Swisscom and Moët Hennessy, this historic first aims at demonstrating that clean technologies can achieve the impossible.
After the original Solar Impulse Si1 prototype which holds 8 world records, Si2 engineers have designed and constructed a new single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber. It has a 72 meter wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747) for a weight of just 2,300 kg, equivalent to that of a car. The 17,248 solar cells built into the wing supply electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy. The solar cells recharge four lithium polymer batteries totaling 633 kg each, which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore have virtually unlimited autonomy.