A Swiss-led group is building a solar-powered aircraft that would be the first manned air vehicle capable of sustaining night flight. The project, dubbed SolarImpulse, is intended to optimize key technologies involved in solar flight, including photovoltaic cells, lithium batteries, propulsion and materials. It could also help stimulate work on ultralight long-endurance aircraft, from which Europe has been largely absent. But the primary objective, says balloon pioneer Bertrand ...


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