As I noted back in March, the Solar Impulse, a 100% solar-powered plane that likes to set world records a few times a year, was aiming for another one this week — 2,500 km (1,550 miles). It completed this trip yesterday to indeed set the record.
This is actually just a stepping stone to a full around-the-world journey the Swiss plane is scheduled to perform in 2014.
“The Swiss solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse, touched down to a warm welcome in Rabat, Morocco last night, flying from Madrid and successfully completing the second leg of its record-breaking 2,500-kilometer intercontinental flight from Switzerland to Morocco,” a news release just published moments ago announced.
“Mustapha Bakkoury, President, Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, (MASEN), joined in welcoming pilot Bertrand Piccard, who called the flight over the Strait of Gibraltar ‘a magical moment’ and noted that Solar Impulse made the trip ‘without one drop of fossil fuel.’ In Morocco, the Solar Impulse team will join events highlighting the convergence and capacity of renewable energy technologies, particularly solar power, under the patronage of King Mohammed VI and at the invitation of MASEN, which oversees Morocco’s solar energy development.
“The solar-powered flight coincides with construction launch in southern Morocco of the world’s largest solar thermal plant, a World Bank-financed project commencing in Ouarzazate that will harness the Sahara sun to produce 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy for North Africa and Europe and create jobs for many in the area. Ouarzazate is the solar plane’s next destination, after a five-day stopover in Rabat.”
A big congrats to the Solar Impulse team, the blooming solar industry, and Morocco. Solar-powered planes aren’t going to rule the sky any time soon, but this is just another landmark on the solar power’s exciting journey forwards, and the aviation sector’s journey forward as well. I don’t think anyone envisioned how far we’d come in about 100 years when the Wright brothers made their landmark flight in 1903.
For more on the Solar Impulse’s journey to this new record, check out:
- The Solar Powered Plane : It Flies!
- Solar-Powered Plane Completes 1st 24-Hour Flight
- Solar Plane — Solar Impulse — Completes 1st International Flight
- Solar Impulse (Solar Plane) Ready in 2014?
Source: Morocco on the Move
Image Credits: Solar Impulse/Stéphane Gros & Solar Impulse