Originally published on 1Sun4All.
In the latest news from Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), the team says that, despite having completed the longest and most difficult leg of the round-the-world solar flight — the record-breaking oceanic flight of 5 days and 5 nights (117 hours and 52 minutes) in a solar-powered airplane — the record-breaking aircraft of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg has suffered battery damages due to overheating and will undergo maintenance repairs on the batteries.
During the first ascent on day #1 of the flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the battery temperature increased too much due to over-insulation. And while the Mission Team was monitoring this very closely during the mission leg, there was no way to decrease the temperature for the remaining duration of the flight, as each daily cycle requires an ascension to 28,000 feet and descent for energy management issues.
The damage to certain parts of the batteries is irreversible and will require repairs and replacements that will take several weeks to work through. In parallel, the Solar Impulse engineering team is looking at various options for better management of the cooling and heating process for very long flights. Si2 does not see the possibility for any flights before 2–3 weeks at the earliest.
While you’re waiting for leg 9 of this round-the-world attempt, you may want to check out the new websites for the pilots and founders of this amazing adventure:
- Information on Solar Impulse’s chairman and co-founder Bertrand Piccard, is available at: bertrandpiccard.com
- Information on Solar Impulse’s CEO and co-founder André Borschberg, is available at: andreborschberg.com
If no one tells you it’s impossible, it means you are not ambitious enough pic.twitter.com/W7njYNxYKw
— Bertrand PICCARD (@bertrandpiccard) July 11, 2015
Si2 is attempting the first ever round-the-world solar flight to inspire innovation and pioneering spirit and encourage the adoption of clean technologies, renewable energy, and energy efficiencies. You may want to check out the cool Paper Plane Campaign video. Having started in Abu Dhabi in early March, Si2 has completed 8 legs covering nearly 18,000 km (11,185 miles) thus far in its around-the-world journey.
It is anticipated that Bertrand Piccard will fly the next leg to Phoenix (estimated distance 4,707 km, 2,925 miles, estimated time 3 days) before the mission continues onward to New York, Europe, and Abu Dhabi where it all started.
Join the Movement: FutureIsClean.org #FutureIsClean
FYI: After the original Solar Impulse prototype, which holds 8 world records, Si2 engineers designed and constructed the new single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber. It has a 72 meter (236 feet) wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747) for a weight of just 2,300 kg, (5,071 lb), equivalent to that of a car. The 17,248 solar cells built into the wing supply electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy. The solar cells recharge four lithium-polymer batteries totaling 633 kg each, which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore have virtually unlimited autonomy.
Photo, Video, and Cartoon Credit: Solar Impulse