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A solar-powered airplane designed to fly around the world without fuel, successfully flew for 90 minutes above the Swiss countryside.
This airplane is making the around-the-world dream of two Swiss adventurers possible.
The Solar Impulse, which has 12,000 solar cells built into its wings, is a prototype for an aircraft intended to fly around the world without fuel by 2012 to promote renewable energy.
It glided for an hour and a half above western Switzerland at an altitude of 1,000 metres.
Andre Borschberg, Swiss Pilot, said, "We will continue the test flights, the important thing is to know the exact performance of this aeroplane to be able to improve the design of the second one. It will be the second aeroplane that will fly around the world."
It took six years to build the carbon fibre aircraft. It has a wingspan of more than 60 metres and weighs as much as a mid-size car.
Solar cells supply four electric motors with a maximum output of 10 horsepower each. The plane is ultimately expected to attain an average flight speed of 70 kilometres per hour and reach a maximum altitude of 8,500 metres.
The project's budget is roughly 93 million US dollars, or about 635 million yuan. 80 percent of the funds have come from sponsors.