Rabat, 12 June 2012.- Solar Impulse continues its journey in the Kingdom of Morocco. After having accomplished the first intercontinental flight powered by solar energy, the solar airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg continues its voyage. Under High Patronage of his Highness King Mohammed VI and in coordinated by the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), Solar Impulse will fly over the future site of the first power plant of the Ouarzazate thermo-solar complex. The prototype should take-off 13 June 2012 around 08:00AM (UTC+1) from Rabat-Salé (Morocco) landing in Ouarzazate (Morocco) Thursday 14 June starting from 00:30AM (UTC+1).
One week after its arrival in Morocco, Solar Impulse will fly to the South of the country experiencing a desert-like and mountainous climate for the first time. This is certainly the most difficult flight the airplane has ever experienced. Because of the arid and hot climate and its proximity to the Atlas Mountains, the atmospheric conditions are very turbulent persisting until late hours of the night. In order to prepare the landing, André Borschberg, piloting the round-trip flight Rabat-Ouarzazate, undertook a reconnaissance mission to the Ouarzazate meteorological station in order to benefit from the local meteorological knowledge, complementing the usual sophisticated modeling programs. The aircraft will take-off tomorrow 13 June 2012 at 08:00AM (UTC+1) from Rabat-Salé International Airport (Morocco) starting with a demonstration flight over Rabat. Two itineraries are currently being evaluated. The first should follow the coastline at an altitude of 8'600 meters to Agadir via Essaouira, avoiding the Atlas Mountains. The other route should lead the airplane in the direction of Casablanca and then to Marrakesh, landing Thursday 14 June after 00:30AM (UTC+1) at Ouarzazate International Airport.
Solar Impulse will land not far from the Moroccan solar plan's first site being constructed by MASEN. The Ouarzazate complex will house the world's largest thermo-solar power plant. Of a capacity of 160 MW, this thermo-solar plant, based on concentrating solar power (CSP) technology using parabolic trough solar collectors with heat storage, is the first of what will be a complex constituted of five solar parks meant to produce 500 MW by 2015. An integral part of Morocco's energy plan, this pioneering project will contribute to increase the part of renewables (solar, wind and hydro power) to 42% in the country's total energy production in less than 10 years. Solar Impulse supports the Kingdom's strategy, aiming to reconcile the country's socio-economic development and environmental protection needs.
As every day since Solar Impulse's arrival in Morocco, official visits and events will take place for schools, universities, associations, local companies and political personalities. Photos and videos of the events will be uploaded on the Solar Impulse and MASEN websites and Blog daily.
Although the flight has been confirmed, the Flight Director may still decide to postpone it or alter the route up to a short time before takeoff. Keep up to date with the latest news on www.solarimpulse.com.
Track the Crossing Frontiers Flights 2012 on the Internet and via the Solar Impulse app.
During the Crossing Frontiers Flights, each flight can be tracked live on www.solarimpulse.com as well as via Twitter (for André or Bertrand), Facebook page, Masen's Facebook page dedicated to the event "Solarconvergencemaroc" and via the Smartphone app "Solar Impulse Inventing the Future", available free on Appstore and Google Play. The airplane's position, altitude and speed will be shown live and cameras fitted inside the cockpit and at "Mission Control Center", the mission's nerve center, will allow you to experience the adventure live thanks to the satellite communication system developed by Solar Impulse's « National Telecom Partner », Swisscom.