A dream takes to the sky

Solar Impulse 2 on a mission to change the world

Pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies to harmonize product, nature and life

Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borshberg aim to change the world with Solar Impulse 2. Their new single-seat solar aircraft designed to take up the challenge of the first round-the-world solar flight (without any fuel whatsoever) in 2015.

"More than just an airplane, Solar Impulse is a message," says Michel Tellier, Vice President, Aerospace & Defense Industry, Dassault Systèmes. "The Solar Impulse project is showing the world that alternative, clean energy can be safe and viable in the most extreme circumstances and that it has the power to change the world."

The Solar Impulse team faced new challenges and trade-offs in designing such an innovative plane to circumnavigate the globe, including a new design for the fuselage and wings, and using new materials to achieve strict weight objectives. Designing a cockpit providing safety, comfort, and command accessibility for a pilot on an around-the-world flight required sophisticated design and management tools. Dassault Systèmes applications, in use by the team since 2006, helped ensure smooth execution of the ongoing development process and milestones.

As “Official 3DEXPERIENCE Innovation Partner” to Solar Impulse, their engineers have used Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE applications to design, build and certify Solar Impulse 2 so it may confidently embark on its global trek.

Solar Impulse 2 by the numbers

2-3 tons

Plane weight

260 Watt hr/kg

Each of the four battery delivery

135 micron

Solar cell thickness

17,248 Solar panels

Cover the wings

3.8 cubic meters

Cockpit size

Solar Impulse: Pioneers Clean Aviation with 3DEXPERIENCE

"We had to be right the first time. We needed proven, cutting edge industry solutions to craft the experience for which we were looking. That’s why we went to Dassault Systèmes and its 3DEXPERIENCE platform" said Bertrand Piccard, President and Pilot of Solar Impulse SA. "An experience perspective is exactly what we needed when creating an airplane to achieve such long flights. We’re in the cockpit for five days at a time. Everything, from the propulsion, to the electronics, to the crew facilities needs to be considered, planned, integrated and implemented for such a flight to be successful."

Flight

Solar Impulse engineers designed wings wider than a 747-8I composed primarily of carbon fiber composites, which had to be as light as possible while providing the lift needed at a cruising speed of around 90kph.

Structure

Faced with the challenge to do what no one has ever done before: fly through 5 days and nights with no fuel. Solar Impulse engineers found highly innovative solutions that could be made locally and assembled in house - ‘Design for Assembly’ by hand.

Cockpit

The single seat cockpit was designed to meet unique requirements: up to 5 or 6 days and nights in a row in 3.8m3 of space, with temperatures from -40°C to 40°C and zero pressurization, plus room for food and water and more.

Bertrand Piccard

President, initiator and pilot of Solar Impulse

Initiator of the Breitling Orbiter project
Captain of the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, capturing 7 FAI world records for the longest flight of the entire aviation's history for both distance and duration
Follow @bertrandpiccard

André Borschberg

CEO, co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse

Graduate of the Sloan School (MIT) in management science
Trained as Swiss air force pilot
8 FAI world records for distance, altitude and duration in a solar airplane
Follow @andreborschberg

With each of their great "firsts", the explorers of the last century constantly pushed back the limits of the impossible. Today, the drive to make new discoveries must go on, with the aim of improving the quality of life on our planet.

Bertrand Piccard President, Solar Impulse

Streetview: Inside the hangar