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The first solar-powered flight across the Atlantic

The competition heats up: Solar Impulse 2 has successfully completed the first solar-powered flight across the Atlantic in the 15th leg of its journey around the world.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

2 comments

  • PeterF

    Never be commercially viable. Now a lighter-than-air craft, like maybe a Zeppelin, would travel faster AND have a useful payload capacity.

  • Edward

    This may be more of a demonstration of current technology. This solar-powered aircraft stayed aloft over the course of 2-1/2 nights. It took off in the middle of the night, demonstrating that the power storage capacity was large yet lightweight.

    Flying to 28,000 feet suggests that there was some weighty life support hardware on board. The pilot would need oxygen and something for warmth. The power gathering and efficiency of the solar cells demonstrates that a piloted, long-distance, solar powered aircraft is much more feasible than it was not so long ago.

    The article, below, says: “It’s a demonstration that the tech is reliable.” But also listen to what the pilot says, in the 1-1/2-minute embedded video, about why they are doing this:
    http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/24/travel/solar-impulse-2-plane-california/

    The Spirit of St. Louis was a demonstration of what was possible. It was not a plane that could carry passengers, but it demonstrated that reliable long-distance flight had finally become possible with the technology available in 1927. These guys are doing something similar, demonstrating some possibilities of solar power, and possibly inspiring other uses, too.

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