In Saint Louis, the Solar Impulse was opened to the public today. The Solar Impulse uses four electric motors to propel itself to an altitude of 28,000 feet. These electric motors are in turned powered by solar cells that completely cover the upper surface of its wing. It is capable of staying aloft both day and night. It is a manned aircraft, but otherwise, it theoretically could stay aloft forever. It is a good thing that this plane has such long endurance, because with a cruise speed of 43 MPH, it takes it a long time to get anywhere.
This Swiss made aircraft is currently flying across the country, as a demonstration of the viability of this technology. Saint Louis is its third stop across America. It began this cross country flight in San Francisco and made stops in Phoenix and Dallas, before landing in Saint Louis early Tuesday morning. Its final destination on this trip will be Washington D.C. In two years, a larger and more capable prototype will attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The Solar Impulse will be on display tomorrow. Reservations are required.