Solar-Powered Jet to Take Giant Leap for Airplanekind

The SolarStratos is shooting for, powered by the stars

By Evan Bleier

 
Solar-Powered Jet to Take Giant Leap for Airplanekind
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19 January 2017

In space, no one can hear you scream.

Also, thanks to a dead-silent 32-kW electric engine, no one can hear the solar-powered plane a Swiss design team hopes will someday take you up there.

Covered with 237 square feet of solar panels spread across its 82-foot-wingspan, the SolarStratos is a two-seat plane that its builders intend to fly to the edge of space and reach an  an altitude of more than 80,000 feet.

During the SolarStratos Mission, the solar-powered plane — which will not be pressurized to cut down on weight and require its pilots to wear spacesuits — will ascend for two hours, remain at the edge of space for 15 minutes and then take an additional three hours to descend. And if the 2018 mission proves successful, flights on the SolarStratos could be sold commercially.

Solar Space Plane (5 images)

“Imagine yourself aboard a solar-powered plane flying in total silence at more than 75’000 feet,” say the developers. “At this altitude you can contemplate the curvature of the planet and observe the stars during the day.”

To support the project — and unlock goodies like your own personalized flight suit, VIP access to SolarStratos events and even a trip in the actual plane — throw some space bucks behind it.

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