Solar Impulse 2 is performing ground tests in preparation for its first test flight, which is expected in the coming weeks. In the run-up to the premier flight, we can watch the team’s
preparations via video. In this edition of #Insider, we meet Si2’s Flight Test Engineer,
Christoph, and the ground team runs the engines for the first time.
I’ve included some technical specifications about the solar cells and batteries that power Si2 from Building a Solar Airplane.
- More than 17’000 solar cells, which represents 269.5 m2!
- More precisely, 17’248 monocrystalline silicon cells each 135 microns thick mounted on the wings, fuselage and horizontal tailplane, providing the best compromise between lightness, flexibility and efficiency (23%).
- In order to maximize the aerodynamical performance, the plane is built with a wingspan of 72m: wider than that of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet!
Solar Impulse 2, 1st Outdoor Technical Tests, 2014.14.04 | © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch
- The energy collected by the solar cells is stored in lithium polymer batteries, whose energy density is optimized to 260 Wh / kg. The batteries are insulated by high-density foam and mounted in the four engine nacelles, with a system to control charging thresholds and temperature. Their total mass amounts to 633 kg, or just over a quarter of the aircraft’s all-up weight.
- In order to save energy, the aircraft climbs to 8’500 m during the day and descents to 1,500 m at night.
There are several things we can do to participate and support Solar Impulse 2. More information is available here.
- Collect this year’s badge.
- Sign up for all the latest news.
- Adopt a Solar Cell.
- Become an “Explorer” and book a visit to see Solar Impulse 2.
- The ultimate Si2 supporter is the “Pioneer” and this this level of support your name will be on the fuselage!
In case you missed it: Watch the Official Presentation of Solar Impulse 2.
By Amber Archangel