CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Pilot Magazine today CLICK HERE

SolarStratos unveils aircraft capable of reaching the stratosphere

PUBLISHED: 07:08 16 January 2017

Artist’s rendering of SolarStratos in flight

Artist’s rendering of SolarStratos in flight


The first mission to the edge of space is scheduled for 2018

By Geoff Jones

Affordable, ‘green’ research of the earth’s stratosphere took a major step forward with the unveiling of Raphaël Domjan’s stratospheric SolarStratos.

A tandem two-seat unpressurised monoplane spanning 81ft 3in and weighing 990lb, SolarStratos embraces the project’s ethic to move beyond fossil-fuelled engines using a 32kE solar, electric motor driving a four-blade propeller.

The solar aircraft – which is hoped to reach a height of more than 80,000ft – was unveiled at Payerne, Switzerland, in December in front of 300 guests, project partners, government officials, ambassadors and the media.

The SolarStratos project was initiated in 2014, with Domjan stating: ‘It will be the first manned solar-powered aeroplane to penetrate the stratosphere.

‘Previous and current research of the stratosphere uses large quantities of energy and helium.’ The SolarStratos has some 237sq ft of solar cells covering the composite and carbon fibre airframe, powering 20kWh Lithium-ion batteries. Domjan will wear a solar energy-powered spacesuit to fly at 82,000ft on what he describes as ‘an eco adventure by an eco-explorer’.

Currently in the final development phase, SolarStratos’ roll-out and first medium altitude flights are planned for the coming summer, with the initial stratospheric flights following in 2018.

The project is backed by SolarXplorers SA Group whose Chief Executive Officer Roland Loos said at the launch: ‘SolarStratos opens the door to new scientific knowledge, at an affordable price, for the exploration and the peaceful use of our stratosphere.’


You may also like:

Solar Impulse: An around-the-world flight

Electric aircraft breaks time-to-climb world record

Boom unveils XB-1 supersonic demonstrator

Airbus reveals autonomous electric flying taxi Vahana

More from News


ILAFFT has long been a ‘must read first’ feature in Pilot magazine, so it was no surprise when the Vintage Aircraft Club decided to try an informal forum for pilots that there was a very positive response

Read more
Yesterday, 17:02

EPS Diesel has received supplemental funding which should allow them to complete FAA Certification and to obtain production certification for the Graflight 8 diesel engine

Read more
Yesterday, 16:52

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) has called upon the Housing and Planning Minister to provide airfields with the same level of retrospective protection as churches, live music venues and farms

Read more
Yesterday, 16:07

Concerns over the design of the aviation skies above Britain were raised during the first Oral hearing session of an inquiry commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA)

Read more
Mon, 17:09

Ilmor Engineering has improved the power density of a General Aviation diesel engine by applying technologies and design solutions honed in Motorsport to successfully deliver an EU Clean Sky 2 (CS2) programme

Read more
Mon, 16:34

Re-live all the action from 2018’s Old Buckenham Airshow with this action-packed DVD featuring over an hour of exclusive footage

Read more
Friday, December 7, 2018

This important judgement means that the High Court has given permission for the case to go ahead because it considers that the claim meets the threshold of arguability

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fairoaks 2020, the volunteer campaign group fighting plans to close Fairoaks Airport to create 1,000 homes on its Green Belt site, has been swift to galvanise support from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of General Aviation and also from other sectors of the industry

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

L3 Commercial Aviation have announced the launch of the L3 Pilot Pathways Female Scholarship program, which will provide 10 scholarships to female candidates applying for its Integrated Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) training program

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

CAP 1616 describes the different stages of the airspace change process and the activities involved and the second edition will give updated guidance on the regulatory process for changing airspace design including community engagement requirements

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Pilot weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read

Subscribe or buy Pilot Magazine