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Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

Last updated on: April 2, 2013 18:17 IST

Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

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The path breaking solar-powered plane is making final preparations for a flight across the United States.

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Image: Solar Impulse aircraft is shown inside a hangar at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters.
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Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

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After several hours of non-stop flights at different locations, Solar Impulse will fly across the United States, starting from the West Coast.

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Image: People stand below a wing on the Solar Impulse at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters.
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Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

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The flight will take off from San Francisco in early May and land at New York's John F. Kennedy airport.

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Image: Solar Impulse aircraft.
Photographs: Courtesy, Solar Impulse.
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Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

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By 2015, Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard and project co-founder and pilot Andre Borschberg plan to undertake the first round-the-world flight without any fuel.

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Image: The Solar Impulse aircraft is shown at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters.
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Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

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Bertrand Piccard, a Swiss aeronaut and psychiatrist was the co-pilot of a non-stop balloon trip around the world.

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Image: Solar Impulse pilots Andre Borschberg (L) and Bertrand Piccard talk near the aircraft at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters.
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Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

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The Solar Impulse, made of carbon fiber sheets and powered by solar cells, will attempt to fly once around the world powered solely by solar energy.

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Image: Solar Impulse pilots Andre Borschberg (R) and Bertrand Piccard discuss the aircraft at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters.
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Solar Impulse is a Swiss long-range solar powered aircraft project being undertaken at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.

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Image: A man walks below a wing on the Solar Impulse at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters.
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Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

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Piccard initiated the Solar Impulse project in 2003 with a 10-year budget of $112 million.

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Image: A worker loads the wings of the Solar Impulse aircraft into a Cargolux Boeing 747 cargo aircraft at Payerne airport.
Photographs: Pascal Lauener/Reuters.
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Solar-powered plane set to fly in United States

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By 2009, he had a multi-disciplinary team of 50 specialists from six countries, assisted by about 100 outside advisers. The project is financed by a number of private companies.

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Image: Workers load the wings of the Solar Impulse aircraft into a Cargolux Boeing 747 cargo aircraft at Payerne airport.
Photographs: Pascal Lauener/Reuters.
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The first aircraft, bearing the Swiss aircraft registration code of HB-SIA, is a single-seater monoplane, capable of taking off under its own power, and intended to remain airborne up to 36 hours.

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Image: Workers load the Solar Impulse aircraft into a Cargolux Boeing 747 cargo aircraft at Payerne airport.
Photographs: Pascal Lauener/Reuters.
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In 2012, Piccard and Borschberg conducted successful solar flight from Switzerland to Spain and Morocco in 26 hours.

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Image: Workers load the Solar Impulse aircraft into a Cargolux Boeing 747 cargo aircraft at Payerne airport.
Photographs: Pascal Lauener/Reuters.
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Building on the experience of this prototype, a slightly larger follow-on design (HB-SIB) is planned to make a circumnavigation of the globe in 20-25 days.


Image: The Solar Impulse aircraft is shown in a hangar at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters.
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