Solar-Powered Plane Makes Maiden Flight

A plane fitted with thousands of solar cells made its maiden flight on Monday, June 2, 2014. The plane named Solar Impulse 2 is scheduled to attempt the first round-the-world solar flight in 2015.

This first flight lasted two hours after taking off in Payerne, Switzerland and uses the solar cells on top of the plane’s wings to recharge lithium batteries to power four electric motors. The wingspan of Solar Impulse 2 is wider than a Boeing 747 jet and only weighs 2.3 tons. This plane is a larger and upgraded than a previous version, Solar Impulse 1. The Solar Impulse 1 plane flew a 26 hour trans-America flight in 2013 and was the first time an airplane has flown during the day and night without fuel.

Read more about the Solar Impulse 2 plane and how the scientists behind the project want to demonstrate the capability of alternative energy sources.