A Swiss team working to bring a solar plane to the edge of space claims to have made the first jump and free fall from an electrically powered aircraft. With the feat, the team tries to show that activities such as skydiving can be done without producing greenhouse gases, which warm the planet.
The SolarStrato team said its experimental plane took off early Tuesday from an airfield in western Switzerland with two people on board and that it reached a height of 1,520 meters (5,000 feet) before its founder, Raphaël Domjan, jumped from The aircraft.
He said Domjan remained in free fall for several hundred meters, reaching speeds of more than 150 km / h (93 mph) before opening his parachute and landing safely.
“I hope this continues to make the youth of tomorrow dream, thanks to planes that are more respectful of our planet and our climate,” said Domjan, quoted by the team.
Emissions from hydrocarbon-fueled aircraft currently account for about 2% of human-made carbon emissions.
The team’s goal is to fly the single-propeller plane and with 22 square meters (237 square feet) of solar panels reach the stratosphere.
The SolarStrato team follows the pioneering work of Switzerland’s Solar Impulse mission, which completed the world’s first circumnavigation with a solar powered aircraft in 2016.