A next generation solar-powered plane that will fly around the world for five consecutive days next year without using any fuel has been developed.
The solar plane, dubbed Solar Impulse 2, will circumnavigate the world in March 2015.
Swiss pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, who unveiled the futuristic flying machine in a ceremony, hopes to accomplish the first around-the-world flight in a solar-powered aircraft.
Solar Impulse officials said the plane will take off from the Gulf region, and will fly over the Arabian Sea, China, the Pacific Ocean, the US, the Atlantic Ocean and Southern Europe or North Africa.
Landings will be made every few days to change pilots and to accommodate outreach events with participating governments and schools, ‘LiveScience’ reported.
“Today, we are one step closer to our dream of flying around the world on solar power,” Piccard said.
Solar Impulse 2 has a wingspan that stretches 72 meters, longer than a Boeing 747 commercial jet.
According to the company, the wings are covered with 17,000 solar cells that power the plane’s various systems.
The upgraded aircraft also features a larger cockpit with better ergonomic designs, which will help Borschberg and Piccard live comfortably in the space during the nearly weeklong flight.
The plane will undergo a series of test flights in May, followed by training flights over Switzerland, the company said.
Borschberg and Piccard are aiming to begin their round-the-world journey in March 2015.
Last year, Borschberg and Piccard flew a first-generation prototype of the Solar Impulse plane on a record-setting coast-to-coast flight across the US.
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