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Wings for the stratosphere!

Wings for the stratosphere!

Test flights in sight

First things first though! Happy New Year from the whole team and welcome to our first newsletter of the new decade!

This year is extremely important for SolarStratos and promises to be action packed. The test flights will resume, Raphael will fly the solar plane himself for the first time, we’ll be doing two-person flights, we will attempt the first flights at 10,000 m for as solar and electric airplane and many more surprises.

Lots going on!

Our team is growing

Une éco-exploration expérimentale telle que SolarStratos se développe de façon ininterrompue. Pour mener à bien celle-ci, il est impératif de bénéficier des connaissances et des compétences nécessaires, en s’adaptant constamment aux évolutions technologiques. Une équipe incroyable et passionnée met tout en œuvre pour que notre avion solaire rejoigne bientôt la stratosphère.

Cette équipe grandit régulièrement. Après avoir engagé Miguel A. Iturmendi, en qualité de second pilote d’essai et d’ingénieur en aéronautique, nous avons le plaisir d’annoncer l’arrivée dans l’équipe de Marc-André Pointet, ingénieur de la Haute Ecole d’Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de Vaud (HEIG-VD).

Nous avons également renforcé notre secteur « événements et partenaires », avec l’engagement de Floriane Pochon, nouvelle responsable de ce pôle important.

Nous leur souhaitons la bienvenue au sein de notre équipe et beaucoup de plaisir dans cette belle aventure.

Reliability of the new wings

During the winter, we focussed on stress testing the wings. To do that, we first built different samples of longerons (the longitudinal structural component of an aircraft’s fuselage), then we loaded them up until they broke in order to understand what resistance the different materials and manufacturing techniques would allow. Once this was established, we were able to select the best carbon fibre and the best manufacturing technique to achieve the strongest, stiffest and lightest wings possible.

Once the longeron experiments were complete, we built a full test wing, slightly shorter than the flight wing and loaded that up with over a ton of sandbags and water until it broke.

We at last had the information that we needed to create the final wings. Our technical team now knows that the SolarStratos wings have a margin of safety that is slightly higher than the norm, which in turn means that, if necessary, they can slightly increase the take-off weight.

Embedded cells

The new SolarStratos wings will be equipped with more resistant photovoltaic cells embedded in the wings by our scientific partners at the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology. Embedding the cells will make them more reliable and solid.

The base will stay in Payerne

In 2016, the city of Payerne and the Broye Regional Community allowed us to build our base on the Aeropole site for three years. We have just received the exciting news that this permission has been extended until the end of our eco-exploration. This means we can continue our adventure so thank you to the local, regional and confederate authorities for the trust placed in us, and their support!