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Solar Impulse Takes Off from Madrid to Complete 1,550 Miles of Solar Powered Trip

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Last week we’ve been telling you that Solar Impulse, world’s first airplane powered solely by solar power had landed in Madrid, the only stop in the trip to Morocco.

The “man for the job” is Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, a 54-year-old psychiatrist and balloonist, who will be taking his plane from Madrid to Rabat, Morocco. The project couldn’t have had a better person in charge, because he is also the man co-responsible for the first round-the-clock and round-the-world balloon flight in 1999.

And mind you, this plane was also used two years ago to undertake a manned 24-hour trip on solar power.

This time, Piccard took on a new challenge: landing the carbon-fibre Solar Impulse plane on the Rabat-Sale airport around 11 pm (2200 GMT) on Tuesday, after crossing the Gibraltar Strait at 8,500 metres (28,000 feet).

The trip started out at the Madrid-Barajas airport at 5:22 AM (0322 GMT); it left behind the Spanish capital to reach 3,600 metres (11,800 feet) towards Seville in the south before resting in the African country a little before midnight and after having covered 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles).

Apparently, the date of the trip wasn’t randomly chosen: it was to be on the same day as the largest solar thermal plant in the Moroccan region Ouarzazate started its construction. However, the “real” trip is planned for a couple of years from now, when the plane is set to circle the world. You have to admit: that’s at least a tiny bit exciting!

[via Physorg]

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