SolarStratos solar plane unveiled

002-copyright-zeppelin-solarstratos-web-1024x684.jpgPayerne, Switzerland—On December 7, 2016, Raphael Domjan’s stratospheric solar plane was unveiled in Payerne, Switzerland, to 300 guests, including ambassadors, partners, government representatives and the world’s media.

SolarStratos is the first commercial two-seater solar plane in history and plans to be the first manned solar plane to penetrate the stratosphere.

The unique 8.5-meter-long aircraft has a wingspan of 24.8 meters, weighs 450 kilograms and is covered with 22m2 of solar panels. Calin Gologan (Elektra-Solar GmbH – technical partner SolarStratos) is the designer.

“This is a great day for the SolarStratos team,” says Raphael Domjan, creator of PlanetSolar, the first solar-powered boat to do a circumnavigation in 2012 and the initiator and pilot of the SolarStratos project.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that current technology offers us the possibility to achieve above and beyond what fossil fuels offer. Electric and solar vehicles are amongst the major challenges of the 21st century. Our aircraft can fly at an altitude of 25,000 meters and this opens the door to the possibility of electric and solar commercial aviation, close to space,” he continues.

Reaching the stratosphere over the past century has required large quantities of energy or helium. Today, the SolarStratos aircraft offers clean solar and electric aviation for the equivalent environmental footprint of an electric car.

“We are extremely pleased with the positive feedback and encouragement that we have received,” says Roland Loos, chief executive officer of SolarXplorers S.A., the organization in charge of the development and future applications of this endeavor. “Our project brings hope and makes both children and adults dream. It also opens the door to new scientific knowledge – at an affordable price, exploration and the peaceful use of our stratosphere.”

SolarStratos Specifications

  • Length: 8.5 meters (27.89 feet);
  • Wingspan: 24.8 meters (81.37 feet);
  • Weight: 450 kg (992.08 pounds) ;
  • Autonomy more than 24 hours;
  • Propulsion: propeller, 2.2 m (7.22 feet), three blades;
  • Engine: electrical, max. 32 kW / 2200 rpm;
  • Engine efficiency: 90%;
  • Seating: Two-seater in tandem;
  • Energy: solar;
  • Solar cells: 22 square meters (236.806 square feet) ;
  • Cells efficiency: 22-24%;
  • Battery: Lithium-ion, 20 kWh

Actually – this data might be a little wonky… I did notice that (on the SolarStratos website)  says there are four blades on the propellers, but the photo shows only three… I adjusted accordingly… but who knows if the specifications above are from a working model and design and NOT the final product.   

Check out the website at

Images courtesy of SolarStatos.

About mreman47

Andrew was born in London, UK, raised in Toronto, Canada, and cavorted in Ohtawara, Japan for three years. He is married, has a son and a cat. He has over 35,000 comic books and a plethora of pioneer aviation-related tobacco and sports cards and likes to build LEGO dioramas. He has written and been an editor for various industrial magazines, has scripted comic books, ghost-written blogs for business sectors galore, and hates writing in the 3rd person. He also hates having to write this crap that no one will ever read. He works on his Pioneers Of Aviation - a cool blog on early fliers - even though it takes him so much time to do. He also wants to do more writing - for money, though. Help him out so he can stop talking in the 3rd person.
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