A Solar Aircraft Is To Be Launched Soon
The goal of this project is to find out if the aircraft can flight in total darkness using solar cells. The scientists want to know of the device can resist in the air for about 24 hours, using only solar cells and no other energy source. The Associated Press and BBC reported that the 24 hour flight will take place on Wednesday. The plane, which has 80 meters, was already raised above ground level this morning and this evening, it will be performing a night flight. The pilot will try to avoid all the turbulences that are encoutered during a flight, in order to maintain the performance of the solar cells to a high level.
This project is called the Solar Impulse project and the plane will fly above the Swiss Alps. It will reach an altitude of 8500 meters and the energy will be entirely provided by the batteries inserted into the plane. The goal of this project is to have a flying plane during the day and also during the night, but by night to fly using the energy stored in its batteries. This would be a major breakthrough, if the scientists discover how to do this right. If the event will run without problems, this year will be programmed another flight with a longer duration.
The plane is made of 12000 solar cells, which have the main role to attract the sun’s energy and to store it into the plane’s batteries. This way, it will be able to travel by night, not only by day, being powered by the sun. The experiment is still under the question sign, so we can’t tell yet what is the consequence of this event. We shall wait the news coming from Bertrand Piccard, a co-founder of this project, who also reported that this flight from this evening is very important to air forces. If they succeed in delivering a good flight, then these methods could be used perhaps for commercial flights or military ones.
The team tried this experiment even from the last week when the days in the northern hemisphere are longer, but due to a technical problem the plane had to come back to ground, not letting enough the solar cells to charge with solar energy. In these conditions, the night flight could not take place, because the solar cells were not filled with enough energy to perform a night flight like that. If the procedure is not followed exactly as instructed, then the pilot’s life is in danger and also all the equipments and technologies that are developed, some of them especially for this project.
The page with all the information that could interest you regarding this matter is solarimpulse.com. There you can find that all the aspects of the aircraft will be monitored from the ground. Images from the aircraft will be transmitted on the Internet, some of them being already posted on this website. The news that is reported until now on this website is that the pilot had taken the plane to 7000 feet and then climbed to 10000 feet. He will then fly relatively low to keep the consumption of the energy accumulated in the batteries to a very low level. At about 18.00 hours, the plane will climb to 28000 feet. On that altitude, the plane will be powered not by the batteries, which will be only 10748 of them charged, but by the solar energy which will come directly from the sun. At that time, the sun will be still up on the sky providing enough energy, if not maximum. The maximum amount of energy which can be generated by the sun is around 12.00 hours. But luckily, this plane was on movement all day long and accumulated energy. At 18.00 hours, the plane will still gather energy from the sun, preparing for its night floght, which is expected to be a hit.
These information come from the official website of this Solar Impulse project. Today has been an incredible day for the ones working on this project, mainly because it was a hot day, with a lot of sun and with good wind. The Twitter page of those from Solar Impulse says that at 3 PM the solar cells were fully loaded. At 18.00, there will be only some of them that will need some more energy, the rest of them being completely loaded, especially those who have a direct contact with the sun rays. As you all know, a plane in its movement captures different quantities of energy from the sun. If you go to the beach one day, you can get tanned very nice on one hand and on the other one, very little. Why? Because the sun is influenced by many factors. First of all, the position in which you may stay might block the sun rays or even if they don’t block them, the intensity which is available regarding the tan of one hand might be different from the other intensity regarding the other hand. Have not you noticed that sometimes during summer a part of your body might get a nice tan and other part no tan at all or by contrary, burns on your skin? This happens if that part was exposed to the sun before and it has a high temperature, which keeps the spot warm or if the sun has a direct trajectory to that part of your body and the sun rays tan exactly that spot. The same can happen with this plane too, it is in movement, so the sun rays don’t come exactly on the same location and having a straight line, but on different location at the same time and having different intensities when they hit the surface they will charge with energy.11