What a terrific way to prove that we, the earthlings, are capable of freeing ourselves from the dependence on oil ! Through the clean tech of solar energy, SOLARIMPULSE has brought us not only the physical possibility of the first manned flight over night (lasted about 26 hours) by solar powered plane in July 2010, but also the message to educators throughout planet earth the importance of motivating children and students the pioneering spirit and developing new ways of thinking about future, energy, environment , and online education.
Due to the overwhelming response on last week’s post on solar car, it would be fitting to bring you the report on earthling’s progress in Solar Plane, the Swiss Solar Impulse HB-SIA, below, undertaken at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. This project was initiated in 2003 and then promoted by Bertrand Piccard (who co-piloted the first balloon to circle the world non-stop);it has grown to a multi-disciplinary team of 50 specialists from six countries and assisted by about 100 outside advisers.
Please be sure to view these three FANTASTIC clips bbelow (I could not help but share the feeling of exuberance and hope for mankind in viewing these clips….I was almost in tears….) :
The prototype HB-SIA has a non-pressurized cockpit, a similar wingspan to the Airbus A340, lithium polymer batteries under the wing, 12,000 photovoltaic cells on the upper wing surface and the horizontal stabilizer generate electricity during the day. These photovoltaic cells and horizontal stabilizer propel the plane and charge the batteries to allow night flight, theoretically enabling the single-seat plane to stay in the air indefinitely. On July 8, 2010, HB-SIA achieved the world’s first manned 26-hour solar flight, flown by Andre Borschberg (started on July 7, 2010, from an airfield in Payenne, Switzerland).
To top HB-SIA, the HB-SIB is planned for completion in 2011, with a pressurized cockpit (with supplemental oxygen and various environmental support to the pilot to allow a cruise altitude of 12,000 m (39,000 ft) and advanced avionics to allow for transcontinental and trans-oceanic flights, with wingspan of 80.0 m (262.5 ft), slightly wider than the 79.75 m (261.6 ft) wingspan of an Airbus A380 ( the largest passenger airliner in the world).
A round-the-world flight is in the forecast for 2012;the flight would circle the world in the northern hemisphere near the equator and five stops are planned to change pilots. Once improved battery efficiency allows the reduced weight, a two-seater is envisaged to make a non-stop circumnavigation.
One cannot help but sense the inevitable success of SOLAR ENERGY….upon the horizon…
Another lesson I have learned from this project…the importance of spirit of cooperation among all earthlings….it is time to shed the barriers of nationalism in order to reach the survival of humankind/earthlings….
* 1 inch = 1/12 ft = 2.54 centimeters (or cm)= 0.0254 meter (or m)
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Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker