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Sat, Jun 02, 2012

Solar Impulse Waiting For Weather Window

Hopes To Continue From Madrid To Morocco Soon

Solar Impulse is still sitting in Madrid, Spain, waiting for a decent weather window to continue its trip across the Straights of Gibraltar to Morocco. The French news service AFP reports that a program spokesman said that will not likely happen until Monday.

The solar-powered plane flew early last week from Payerne, Switzerland to Madrid using no fuel. In doing so, it crossed the Pyrenees mountains at an altitude of 27,900 feet.

The flight to Rabat, Morocco will be the first time Solar Impulse has left Europe. Last year, it traveled from Switzerland to Paris for the Paris Air Show as well a accomplishing a flight to Brussels. All of these flights, including the over-water leg to Morocco, are a tune-up for an around-the-world attempt planned for 2014.

The flight to Ragat is being undertaken with the high patronage of King Mohammed VI and upon invitation of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN). The Solar Impulse team was invited to participate in MASEN’s commencement of construction activities in the Ouarzazate region of what will be the world’s largest thermo-solar power plant. Of a capacity of 160 MW, the plant is part of Morocco’s energy plan whose goal is to build, by 2020, five solar parks with the capacity of 2000 megawatts, reducing CO2 emission of 3,7 million tons. Solar Impulse supports this pioneering project which is in line with its own message and its philosophy of renewable energies.

But for now, developers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are waiting in Madrid for favorable winds. Picard is scheduled to fly the zero-fuel aircraft on the leg from Madrid to Rabat. (Image © Solar Impulse / Jean Revillard)



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