On Monday, March 9th, the Solar Impulse 2, a one-of-a-kind airplane that runs exclusively on solar power, will take off from Abu Dhabi and set course for a round-the-world flight. This isn't just any regular flight. It is the first attempt to fly around the world using only the power of the sun through the Solar Impulse 2's 17,248 solar panels covering a 72-metre wingspan. The solar panels will recharge lithium batteries that also allow the plane to fly at night.
The flight will be led by André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, who together, cofounded the Solar Impulse project 12 years ago. Borschberg and Piccard have spent the last 12 years on this project and in doing so, have set 8 world records in the process, including longest manned solar-powered flight and the greatest height reached by a manned solar aircraft. This time around, they'll take turns flying for several days at a time, including one five-day stretch over the Pacific Ocean, in the small unheated, unpressurized cabin with temperatures ranging from -40°C to +40°C.
QNX Software Systems is the official realtime OS partner for the Solar Impulse team and at the core of the plane, the QNX Neturino OS is used for several control and data communication functions. If you're looking for more details on the Solar Impulse project or are looking to tune in on March 9th for the scheduled take-off, you can head on over to the Solar Impulse site.