SolarStratos, the solar plane that wants to take us into the stratosphere

Solar means of transport seem to want to push the limits to show their reliability. Thus, Solar Stratos, a two-seater aircraft powered by solar energy, has unveiled its plans for future flights at an altitude of 23,000 meters.

On December 7, Solar Stratos will publicly unveil its hangar which will serve as an operational base and above all, its stratospheric solar plane, on the site of Payerne airport, in the canton of Vaud, in Switzerland. A first mission lasting five hours is already planned for the year 2018, namely two hours to climb to an altitude of more than 75,000 feet, or nearly 23,000 meters above sea level, about fifteen minutes head in the stars and three hours to come back down to earth, writes the Solar Stratos website.

The 8.5 meter long machine carries with it a 32 kW lithium-ion battery and a 20 kWh electric motor charged by the 22 square meters of solar cells that cover each wing. Built by the PC-Aero company, the plane can seat two people and support flights of more than 24 hours, according to the company.


The first mission will only carry one pilot, Raphaël Domjan, author of the first solar-powered world tour on a boat in 2012. After completing the first solar-powered circumnavigation of the globe and demonstrating that it was possible to travel independently with renewable energies, it seemed to me necessary to go even further and go beyond what had been achieved so far. here with fossil fuels. It was a bit by chance, when we were crossing the Atlantic aboard PlanetSolar that this idea of ​​making the mythical flight of Icarus and approaching space thanks to solar energy was born. “, he says.

From an altitude of 23,000 meters, the pilot and future travelers will be able to see the curvature of the Earth, and observe stars in broad daylight in the heart of the stratosphere. For weight reasons, the device will not be pressurized, forcing the pilot to wear a pressurized astronaut suit, powered only by solar energy, again constituting a world first. The temperature will then be around -70°C.

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