This solar plane has its sights set on the stratosphere

IDG News Service | May 8, 2017

The first test of the prototype plane only lasted seven minutes, but the SolarStratos team hopes that one day, the solar aircraft will carry people to the edge of space.

Track 1: SolarStratos aims to be the first manned solar airplane to reach the stratosphere.

Track 2: On May 5th, SolarStratos took its first flight in Switzerland. The prototype flew for 7 minutes at an altitude of just 300 meters

Track 3: But the goal is to one day reach 24,000 meters, well into the stratosphere, propelled by nothing more than the plane’s electric motor and solar panels.

Track 4: To reach the stratosphere will take about 5 hours, and the pilot will have to wear a space suit since the aircraft will not be pressurized.

Track 5: The project is the brainchild of explorer, Raphael Domjan. Raphael has a history of breaking world records with clean energy. In 2012, his boat, the PlanetSolar, became the first solar ship to circumnavigate the globe.

Track 6: With SolarStratos, Raphel hopes to open stratospheric exploration to the public as well as to scientists.

Track 7: SolarStratos is following in the footsteps of record-breaking Swiss solar plane, Solar Impulse. From 2015 to 2016, it flew in stages around the world propelled by nothing but solar energy. The designs of each aircraft are similar: they’re light, have large wingspans and lots of space for solar panels.

Track 8: The SolarStratos team will now study the plane’s test flight results before scheduling a longer test flight.