Solar Impulse 2, the first aircraft to attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only solar energy for fuel,departed from Chongqing, China for Nanjing in the Yangtze River Delta on Tuesday at 2:06 am UAE time.
The departure from Chongqing was delayed as a result of unfavourable weather conditions.
The Solar Impulse team used the opportunity to conduct community engagement activities with thousands of local students and members of the public, demonstrating how innovation and clean technology contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.
Co-founder and pilot Bertrand Piccard will man the 14-hour flight from Chongqing to Nanjing,the capital of Jiangsu province in Eastern China, completing the sixth leg of Solar Impulse’s five-month 35,000km mission.
The team is expected to stay in Nanjing for approximately 10 days, depending on weather conditions, to prepare for the solar-powered plane’s historic Pacific crossing.
A leading centre of education, research, transportation and tourism, Nanjing has the second best potential for sustainable development in the Yangtze River Delta, according to China’s National Statistics Bureau. Nanjing is also home to solar cell provider Sunergy, which lists its products on Masdar’s portal for green materials, The Future Build.
Masdar is the official host partner of Solar Impulse’s mission to demonstrate how technology and a pioneering spirit can change the world.
Pushing the boundaries of innovation and clean technology, the Solar Impulse journey also carries an airborne message to advance environmental stewardship. Supported by Masdar and UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the #FutureIsClean initiative launched on www.FutureIsClean.orgis designed to mobilise individuals, organizations, celebrities and politicians to demand concrete action ahead of the Conference on Climate Change of the United Nations (COP21), which will define the new Kyoto protocol in December 2015 in Paris. The prizes for the platform’s challenge are sponsored by Masdar.
Solar Impulse will stay in Nanjing until the weather is right for the plane’s Pacific Ocean crossing via Hawaii, a combined journey of220 hours. Si2 will then fly east across the continental United States, stopping in three locations, including Phoenix, a still to be determined stop in the Midwest and New York City at JFK International Airport.
After crossing the Atlantic, the solar-powered plane will either stop in Southern Europe or North Africa before returning to its host city, Abu Dhabi.
The aircraft departed from Abu Dhabi on March 9 for Muscat, Oman and departed the following day. It arrived in Ahmedabad, India on March 10. Following a brief stop in Varanasi, India, Solar Impulse took off for Mandalay, Myanmar on March 19 with Bertrand Piccard in the cockpit.
The plane then completed its fifth and most challenging journey to date, arriving in Chongqing, China on March 30.