Solar Impulse 2
Solar Impulse 2 made it back to Abu Dhabi, completing its flight around the world. Image from SolarImpulse.com

Solar Impulse 2 Completes Round-the-World Flight

Flight brings to a close the Solar Impulse mission

After 558 hours of flight time and 26,744 miles traveled without a single drop of fuel, Solar Impulse 2 made it back to Abu Dhabi. This means it completed its flight around the world. Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Abu Dhabi on July 26. It has thus finished the mission that began back in March 2015.

The Flight

Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the aircraft after more than two days in the air between Cairo and Abu Dhabi. The landing was streamed live on Facebook. A recording can be viewed here. Solar Impulse 2 spent roughly 23 days in the air over the 17-month trip. This included a nine-month layover in Hawaii after the aircraft’s batteries were severely damaged in its flight across the Pacific Ocean.

The flight brings to a close the Solar Impulse mission, $170-million project 15 years in the making. The mission was meant to demonstrate the practicality of environmentally friendly propulsion. Over the course of the mission, the Solar Impulse team worked to foster concrete actions and solutions to achieve a clean future, through the #FutureIsClean campaign. They spent time in each of the communities in which they landed to spread their initiative through massive media exposure. If the clean technologies used on the airplane were used on the ground, the world could reduce 50 percent of its energy consumption.

Whats’ Next?

What’s next for mission co-founders Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg? The two Swiss pioneers will continue their #futureisclean initiative through the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies. They will use everything they learned from the mission to launch new innovative projects. These include the development of solar-powered drones, for example.

Reflecting on the mission, Borschberg said, “It’s a great example of how we can make the impossible possible, and, specifically, how to turn obstacles into opportunities.”

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