Solar Impulse

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16 years 2 months

Posts: 4,674

No thread on the Solar Impulse yet! Gotta change that!

http://www.solarimpulse.com/

Quite an impressive first step!

This might actually belong in "military", since the armed forces will sure be the first to utilize a ultra-long endurance 24/7 aircraft with a decent payload. But there are civilian applications as well, like e.g. environmental monitoring, or para-military one like patrolling the EEZ. Also ad-hoc networks, but there airships might be better suited.

An aircraft like the Solar Impulse, once it's capable of carrying a real "payload", and I mean one that fits into a business model, will have to find its niche in being faster than airships and lower than satellites. Just my estimate.

And of course the operational limits, better the geographical and seasonal limits, are clear: No sun - no flight. Whereby the ability to fly in darkness will expand with better batteries. Better as in more efficient, lighter, faster charging, &c. Same for the solar cells. Weight and efficiency.

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