Originally published on 1Sun4All.
Solar Impulse 2 has successfully departed Abu Dhabi on the first leg of the attempt to circumnavigate the globe — for the firth time in history — fueled only by the power of the sun. The Solar Impulse team released news about the flight and the mission. You can read the entire statement below and follow André Borschberg for the duration of this flight in the following Solar Impulse video.
Under intense and watchful eyes, the Solar Impulse team in Abu Dhabi along with the Mission Control Center (MCC) in Monaco witnessed Solar Impulse 2 take off this morning to reach Muscat (Oman), before crossing the Arabian Sea to Ahmedabad (India).
André Borschberg took the Si2 to the skies at 7:12 (GMT +4) on Monday, performing the first stage of the round-the-world flight using zero fuel. Bertrand Piccard will take the reins in Oman and continue onward to Ahmedabad (India). Co-pilots Piccard and Borschberg will take turns flying the single-seater experimental solar aircraft, which is able to fly with perpetual endurance.
It has taken twelve years for Bertrand Piccard (initiator and chairman) and André Borschberg (founder and CEO) to be able to finally attempt to make their dream a reality — demonstrating the importance of renewable energy conceived through a pioneering spirit and innovation.
Capable of flying over oceans for several days and nights in a row, Solar Impulse will travel 35,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) around the world in 25 days over the course of roughly 5 months. Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) will pass over the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, China, and the Pacific Ocean. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the final legs include a stop-over in Southern Europe or North Africa before completing the Round-The-World flight at its final destination in Abu Dhabi, Solar Impulse’s official host city. During the 12 scheduled stops, the Solar Impulse team and its partners will organize public events for governments, schools, and universities.
Solar Impulse is an ambitious scientific project, but for those passionate about exploration, this visionary journey is also a strong message for clean technologies. Supported by Prince Albert of Monaco, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Richard Branson, and Al Gore, the #FutureIsClean initiative has been launched on solarimpulse.com to recruit the severely needed support for the adoption of clean technologies worldwide.
“We are very ambitious in our goal, but modest given the magnitude of the challenge. This is an attempt, and only time will tell if we can overcome the numerous weather, technical, human and administrative issues,” said Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.
On the tarmac ahead of the takeoff, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, wished pilots Piccard and Borschberg a safe and successful journey.
The historic day has finally arrived. After months of intense preparation and collaboration with Masdar, Solar Impulse 2 is ready to embark on its attempt to circumnavigate the world using only the sun’s energy, demonstrating the power of clean technology. This journey is a moment of national pride for the United Arab Emirates, as Abu Dhabi helped the mission team prepare for success. Together, we inspired thousands of students and professionals across the country, and I’m confident that such community engagement initiatives will be replicated across the globe, capturing the hearts and imaginations of the world and reaching our collective goal of a cleaner future. –H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.
At approximately 10:00 am local time (GMT +4), Solar Impulse 2 will enterOmanian aerial space in the region of Al Ain at an altitude of approximately, 3,600 meters (12,000 ft.). Solar Impulse 2 will continue its ascension in the direction of Muscat, reaching an altitude of approximately 5,800 meters (19,000 ft.). Once the aircraft reaches northern Muscat, André Borschberg will position the plane above the sea and loiter on a waiting pattern until traffic and weather conditions are suitable for landing. Solar Impulse 2’s estimated arrival at Muscat International Airport is 7:00 pm local time (GMT +4).
Solar Impulse is an airborne laboratory, genuinely made from technological solutions developed by a multidisciplinary team of 80 specialists and more than a hundred partners and consultants. Si2 is the largest aircraft ever built with such a low weight, equivalent to that of a small car. With a wing covered by more than 17,000 solar cells and longer than that of a Boeing 747, the plane can fly up to an altitude of 8,500 meters (27,887 ft) at speeds ranging from 50 to 100 km/h (30–60 mph).
The two pioneers will be required to demonstrate extraordinary endurance under extreme conditions, living in a 3.8m3 — 3.8 cubic meters or 134.20 cubic feet — non-pressurized cockpit, unheated, with external temperatures ranging from -40 to +40 degrees Celsius. Crossing the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in 5 days and 5 nights will certainly represent the highlights of this adventure.
About the first leg Abu Dhabi – Ahmedabad
The first flight leg will stop in Oman to change pilots and position itself to cross the first body of water, the Arabian Sea, on its Round-The-World Solar Flight. Si2 is flying to Oman, where host partner Birla and partners Solvay and ABB will welcome Solar Impulse 2 for completing its first landing of the Round-The-World flight leg. It is the first time that a solar airplane capable of flying day and night without fuel will attempt to fly around the world.
Abu Dhabi–Muscat route of Solar Impulse 2:
- 7:12 am GMT +4 (4:12 am Swiss Time): Takeoff from Abu Dhabi, UAE
- 7:00 PM GMT +4 (4:00 pm Swiss Time): Estimated landing time in Muscat, Oman
The Round-The-World Solar Flight is supported by Main Partners Solvay, Omega, Schindler, ABB, and Official Partners Google, Altran, Bayer MaterialScience, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Swisscom, and Moët Hennessy.
Video Credit: SOLAR IMPULSE | Photo Credit: RTW André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard before the launch of the round-the-world flight, from Abu Dhabi, UEA to Muscat, Oman 2015 03 09 via Solar Impulse | RTW Solar Impulse 2 took-off for the first flight of the round-the-world flight, from Abu Dhabi, UEA to Muscat, Oman 2015 03 09 via Solar Impulse
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