The Solar Impulse, the first solar powered aircraft, took off from Moffett Field in Mountain View, California yesterday around 9 am and landed in Phoenix at midnight this morning. Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard flew the first leg of a proposed four-leg flight to eventually end up in New York. He is joined on the adventure by pilot André Borschberg.
Solar impulse has already been test flown in Europe. In May 2012, the Solar Impulse achieved the first solar-powered intercontinental flight by flying from Spain to Morocco in just over 19 hours.
The aircraft contains 12,000 silicon solar cells and the plane is designed to fly to levels of commercial airliners to charge the batteries to keep it in flight for hours after the sun goes down. The 880 pounds of batteries account for more than 25% of the weight of the plane.
The month-long journey will be flown at the planes top speed of forty-miles per hour.
The plane was built at a cost of about $140-million funded through the contributions of various companies.
You can find videos and pictures and follow the journey with live streaming at the Solar Impulse website.