First Journey Around the World for Innovative Aircraft Solar Impulse 2Society | March 9, 2015, Monday // 13:20| views
The Solar Impulse Two plane is prepared for takeoff for a trip around the world from Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi, UAE Photo: EPA/BGNES
The first official round the world flight of the solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2 was launched as the plane took off from the Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Monday morning.
"Miracles can be achieved with renewables such as solar power," Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard, who also made the first non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in a balloon in 1999, told Reuters in January.
With a wingspan wider than Boeing 747 and weight approximating that of a family car, Solar Impulse is to embark on a 35,000 km journey across the world. The plane is expected to make stops in India, Myanmar, China, and New York along its way.
According to the project's website, the mission wants to ''mobilize public enthusiasm in favour of technologies that will allow decreased dependence on fossil fuels, and induce positive emotions about renewable energies."
The design took over 12 years and the sponsors were numerous, including companies Bayer AG, Solvay, ABB, Schindler, Omega and Abu Dhabi's Masdar.
"ABB and Solar Impulse are passionate about pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation to achieve a better world,” stated ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer.
Prince Albert of Monaco, who is supporting the project, also witnessed the take-off from the Monaco control center, the Telegraph reported.