SolarStratos is well on its way to becoming the first aircraft to reach the stratosphere only powered by solar energy, according to Raphael Domjan, eco adventurer and pilot.
The aircraft has 22sqm of solar cells on its wings which can provide approximately six kilowatts of energy so on a normal flight, it can fly using only the power of the sun. “We have the solar panels always connected to the engine, so we use what we get from the sun, and if we need more energy at take-off for example, we also use the battery, but when we land we don’t need power so we stop the engine and we just recharge the battery,” Domjan explained.
SolarStratos is focused on altitude rather than distance when it comes to reaching targets and is aiming to be the first aircraft to fly above 10,000m this year. “If this flight is a success, then we will go to the stratosphere with a space suit,” added Domjan. “We are sending a message about what we can achieve with electric aircraft and solar energy.”