Solar Impulse flight: Across the US, Powered by the Sun as presented by: Boston Big Picture

The experimental airplane Solar Impulse completed its first flight across the United States this week. The Swiss-made plane, powered only by the sun, is the first to make the trip both day and night without using conventional fuel. It started the journey on May 3 in California and ended on July 6 in New York. Pilots and creators Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg took turns manning the single-seat flyer, which is powered by about 12,000 silicon solar cells and has a wingspan of a jumbo jet. The next step is a trip around the world in 2015. Workers load a wing of the Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse into a Cargolux Boeing 747 cargo aircraft on February 20 at Payerne airport in Geneva. The Boeing will carry the Solar Impulse HB-SIA prototype aircraft to San Francisco for a series of flights across the US from the West to East Coast. The Solar Impulse glides over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco during a successful test flight on April 23. The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover massive wings and charge its batteries, allowing it to fly day and night without jet fuel. The Solar Impulse HB-SIA plane with Andre´ Borschberg onboard approaches JFK airport on late July 6 in New York. The experimental Solar Impulse plane, powered by the sun, completed a transcontinental trip across the United States late Saturday, touching down in New York despite a rip in the fabric of one wing.

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