Powered entirely by the energy of the sun, Solar Impulse,a prototype solar-powered aircraft, is expected to make a debut on June26 in Switzerland. The aircraft comes with the wingspan of an AirbusA340 (63.40m), the weight of a car (1,600kg) and the engine power of ascooter (40CV). With 11,628 solar cells installed on its giantwingspan, the aircraft is expected to remain in the air for 36 hourswithout an additional recharge.
Thesolar cells on the aircraft will recharge four 100kg lithium batteriesthat will each power a unique propeller engine, providing the requiredlifting power. The batteries of the aircraft will be charged the daybefore the mission beings using the solar cells on the wings afterwhich the aircraft is expected to fly for 36 hours. With adjustments tofollow, the aircraft is expected to reach a maximum altitude of 8,500meters by 2010.
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