A major achievement happened tonight: for the first time ever an airplane propelled alone with solar energy managed to fly a whole night.
The airplane, named Solar Impulse, has 12,000 photovoltaic cells, a wing span of 63.4 meters and weights 1600 kilograms. Piloted by André Borschberg, took flight yesterday from the Swiss town of Payerne reaching to 8700 meters of altitude, charging enough energy to stay flying around all night at the prudent speed of 50 km/h.
The duration of the flight, 26 hours, is in itself a record for this kind of vehicle, being the previous one in only 5 hours. Previously to tonight's achievement, the airplane had only flight for short periods.
One of the developers, Bertrand Piccard, plans to cross the Atlantic Ocean with the Solar Impulse and, by 2013, even circumnavigate the World on it.