Solar Impulse 2 had to suspend its round-the-world trip earlier this year due to battery damage. The solar-powered airplane has now raised the funding necessary to finish its journey.
The Solar Impulse team has raised USD 20 million needed to finish its record-setting round-the-world journey. “The financial side is under control,” André Borschberg, co-founder and co-pilot of Solar Impulse, told Reuters on Monday in Paris. Borschberg is currently attending the UN climate conference in Paris with the second Solar Impulse pilot and co-founder Betrand Piccard.
The two pilots had hoped to complete the round-the-world trip this year. The pilots had set off in the solar-powered airplane from Abu Dhabi in March and flew across Asia in various stages. During the five-day Pacific crossing from Japan in July 2015, the batteries overheated and the team made the decision to ground the aircraft in Hawaii, where it is now wintering.
Borschberg told reports in Paris that the team will resume test flights in March 2016 and continue their trip around the world in April when the days will be long enough to charge the aircraft’s batteries. From Hawaii, the pilots will fly to North America, with Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Phoenix possible candidates, said Borschberg.
The journey across the globe is being undertaken in several stages without a drop of fuel. When the record-setting journey is completed, the light aircraft – outfitted with more than 17,000 solar cells – will have covered a distance of 35,000 kilometres.
Photo credit: © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch