Solar Plane Completes Test Flight

7 July 2010 (Last Updated July 7th, 2010 18:30)

A solar powered plane has successfully performed a night flight using power supplied by solar cells. The Solar Impulse aircraft became the first ever plane powered by solar energy to fly for over 24 hours and through the night. Solar Impulse uses 11,628 mono-crystalline silico

A solar powered plane has successfully performed a night flight using power supplied by solar cells.

The Solar Impulse aircraft became the first ever plane powered by solar energy to fly for over 24 hours and through the night.

Solar Impulse uses 11,628 mono-crystalline silicon solar cells, each 150 microns thick developed by SunPower, in concert with Neuchâtel University on its upper wing surface.

The first prototype flew on solar power during the day and also conserved energy in its batteries for the night flight.

About 80 partners, including many Swiss companies, have helped conceive, build, test and fly the prototype.

In the next phase of the flight, a second lighter prototype of the plane aims to cover a 36-hour non-stop flight.

The Solar Impulse project aims to fly the first solar-powered plane around the world without conventional fuel in 2013.