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First flight SolarStratos solar-powered aircraft into stratosphere

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Tinuku ~ The first solar-powered aircraft aimed at reaching the stratosphere has made its debut low-altitude early test flight in Switzerland. The SolarStratos project is building super-light, sleek, white two-seat aircraft with long wings overlaid with solar panels.

Tinuku First flight SolarStratos solar-powered aircraft into stratosphere

The first flight of the SolarStratos project protetype departs from Payerne at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) at the air base in western Switzerland running unhindered. The pilot took the plane for seven-minute trial at height of 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet).

The team will analyze the test results before scheduling longer and higher flights. The aircraft is expected to fly at an altitude of 25,000 meters (82,000 feet) as a pride for as long as it can only use propulsion aircraft.

SolarStratos has weight of 450 kilograms (992 pounds), length of 8.5 meters and 22 square meter (237 square feet) coated solar panel wing to provide 24 hours flying to the planet's outer edge. Flights to there have many interests and applications for the future.

"Our plane opens high-powered solar flight, something we have not tried yet, we set the limits of the plane and the short flight today as an important first step," said Raphael Domjan, head of the SolarStratos project.

The stratosphere lies above the Earth's lowest atmospheric layer called the troposphere. The stratosphere has lower limit of 10,000 meters and upper limit of 50,000 meters. Until now using helium or needing big energy like a rocket to reach the layer.

"Plane is great for flying, responsive, obviously well-designed and well-built," said Damian Hischier, one of SolarStratos pilots.

The 25,000 meter altitude raises technical challenges where airplanes and pilots enter temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit). The aircraft has no pressure as well as the spacecraft and does not allow the use of parachutes in an emergency. First flight SolarStratos solar-powered aircraft into stratosphere

The SolarStratos:

Two-seater plane, 28 feet (8.5 metres) long, 81.4 feet (24.8 metres) wingspan, 32-kW electric engine, 20 kWh lithium-ion battery, 72 sq feet (22 sq m) solar cells, and fly for 24 hours at 82,000 ft (25,000 m).


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