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A summer over the Alps

HB-SXA to head to Sion to take up residence

“This time, the real adventure begins”. Both Raphaël Domjan and Roland Loos, respectively pilot and CEO of the mission, have spoken the exact same words on two different occasions. And as summer 2024 heats up, the moment for HB-SXA to take up residence in Sion approaches. This will be a key moment in the SolarStratos mission.

From mid-July, the SolarStratos team will be based at the Valais airport to launch a new altitude record attempt for a manned solar-powered electric aircraft to fly at 10,000 metres or more, marking a new milestone on the journey to the stratosphere. Once the plane is on the tarmac in Sion, and the final tests have been carried out, particularly in thermal winds, the team will go on standby for the right weather window.

Stay tuned if you want to spend the summer flying over the Alps: you can put yourself in the driving seat via our virtual cockpit.

A postponement…

Despite seemingly favourable weather conditions on the ground, the flight from Payerne to Sion scheduled for the 17 and then the 18 June had to be postponed. The wind and turbulence over the Sanetsch Pass were too strong to risk it. Our thanks to the media who were waiting for us in Sion for their patience. Some of them, such as Rhône FM, didn’t miss an opportunity to interview Raphaël Domjan about the relocation and the upcoming record attempt.

Already very high – above his hometown!

One of Raphaël Domjan’s recent flights this month saw him soaring at almost 4,000 metres over his native Neuchâtel. He shared his excitement at realising a dream, which sees “innovation and technology working together to preserve our planet”. The SolarStratos pilot took the opportunity to thank all those who are making this adventure possible by sharing his pioneering and exploratory spirit. “Let’s keep aiming for the stars, fuelled by the inexhaustible energy of our dreams, the sun and our thirst for exploration”. Beautifully put.

SolarStratos shines in France

SolarStratos is causing a stir among the French media. The imminent altitude record attempt has been announced by several French TV channels and newspapers. Raphaël Domjan appeared on the set of France 5’s “C à vous vous”, just after Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, with whom he exchanged a handshake and a few words before inviting the politician to come and fly with him one day. France Inter and the major daily Le Parisien have also highlighted the challenge scheduled for July 2024. In Switzerland, l’Agefi’s Be to B programme is also covering our adventure.

A breath of fresh air in freefall!

Flying at high altitudes where oxygen is scarce requires special measures and safety precautions. On 12 June, Raphaël Domjan tested his complete oxygen system in freefall, in case he ever has to eject from HB-SXA. He completed three jumps from an altitude of 3,000m accompanied by his trainer Geraldine Fassnacht, and everything went perfectly. The tests produced some stunning shots which we’d like to share with you!

A first-rate team

The traditional SolarStratos team photo was taken by Fred Merz on 17 June. Our photographer wanted to highlight the members of the mission in the foreground, and you can see them united around a shared passion: the HB-SXA at its home base in Payerne. Next stop: Sion. Onwards and upwards!