In 1990 the fist aircraft flew across the USA, using only solar power without fuel. Twenty years after that first trial, another solar powered plane succesfully landed in Switzerland on July 8th after a successful flight over night.
Solar impulse, a prototypical solar powered airplane was developed. It is worth $94,000,000 and it weighs 3300 pounds. The shape of the plane is not like ones we are used to. It has a very thin carbon fiber body and long, flat, rectangular wings. 12,000 solar cells were arranged along its wingspan. The plane also used solar batteries to keep flying when the sun went down.
During its first 26 hours flight it reached a height of 8,700 m. It was yet another world record: World’s longest and highest solar powered air travel.
Moreover, it was also the first in history when a manned solar plane flew at night.
The team behind this prototype is preparing now for their new goal: to circumnavigate the world.