The Solar Impulse Control Center is about an airplane that is close to flying around the World WITHOUT ANY FUEL…Only the sun. It is fantastic! More in a New York minute.
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We now return to the Solar Impulse Control Center.
On the occasion of the round-the-world trip by the “Solar Impulse” solar-powered aircraft, an initiative supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Prince’s Government, the Prince Albert II Foundation is offering an opportunity to visit the Monaco Control Center – the mission’s strategic center – in the presence of the Solar Impulse teams. We took them up on their offer and immediately saw the connection between the projects!!!
The adventure began with Bertrand Piccard’s vision that clean technologies and energy efficiency can reduce our emissions and improve our quality of life. It led up to the attempt of the First Round-The-World Solar Flights, with in July 2015 André Borschberg’s 5-day 5-night record-breaking flight from Japan to Hawaii, using only the power of the sun. Not sci-fi, but eccentric enough to appeal to the people’s emotions and get their adrenalin pumping. It would have made a great Jules Verne story a few decades back.
«A Jules Verne dream of today means the urge to explore the unknown and the force to do good, which must continue to inspire human beings. Take your time, be patient and determined, wrote my great grandfather Jules Verne, for everything great that has ever been achieved in the world, is the result of exaggerated ambitions. And it is this spirit that Bertrand Piccard symbolizes best in this project, which is ambitious but of universal benefit to mankind.»
One could easily imagine oneself in a Jules Verne novel: a team wanting to promote renewable energies sets off round the world in a solar airplane, aiming to fly without fuel or pollution…
By writing the next pages in aviation history with solar energy, and voyaging around the world without fuel or pollution, meeting the public enthusiasm, Solar Impulse is the messenger for Bertrand Piccard’s initial vision, written in 2004:
« Our ambition for Solar Impulse is for the worlds of exploration and innovation to make a contribution to the cause of renewable energies. We want to demonstrate the importance of clean technologies for sustainable development; and to place dreams and emotions back at the heart of scientific adventure.
The public, which gets excited about great adventures, is ready to join the dreams of pioneers and explorers. Solar Impulse wants to mobilize this enthusiasm in favor of technologies that will allow decreased dependence on fossil fuels and induce positive emotions about renewable energies.
Public attention must be drawn towards the changes necessary to ensure our planet’s energy and ecological future. Also, a positive and stimulating image of environmental protection must demonstrate that the alternative energy sources, related to new technologies, can achieve what some consider impossible. »
« The problem with our society is that, despite all the grand talk about sustainable development, we are a long way from making use of the clean technologies that are already available to us. Those solutions bring opportunities to create jobs, make profit, sustain the growth of the industry, and at the same time protect the environment. »
So when the world decided to react in 2015, by setting ambitious goals during the COP21 climate conference, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg were of course there to show decision makers that climate change is not an expensive problem requiring heavy financial and behavioral sacrifices, but rather a unique opportunity.
Solar Impulse descends directly from a long tradition of exploration, scientific development and protection of the environment. Never before has one family had such an impact on the world of exploration as Auguste, Jacques and Bertrand Piccard.
This dynasty has been inventing and exploring for three generations: with the grandfather came the pressurized capsule and the first flight in the stratosphere, with the father, the bathyscaphe and the absolute deep-sea diving record, and with the son, the first non-stop, round-the-world, balloon flight. But what each father passed on to his son was not only the passion for adventure, but also the will to improve life on Earth and protect the environment.
« The question now is not so much whether humans can go even further afield and populate other planets, but rather how to organize things so that life on Earth becomes more worthy of living. »
Auguste Piccard, 1931
« The public has not yet woken up to the extent and seriousness of the problem of pollution. »
Jacques Piccard, 1972
« Adventure in the 21st Century consists of applying human creativity and the pioneering spirit to developing a quality of life which present and future generations have a right to expect. »
Bertrand Piccard, 2004
Mission Control Center
It is in the Mission Control Center where all the needed information and data will be collected and processed to configure the flights. In search of the most suitable patterns for the Round-the-World route, several thousand flights have been simulated since 2005, taking account of varying meteorological conditions.
In permanent contact via satellite with the airplane, the Mission Control Center (MCC) is the pilot’s “guardian angel ”.
Twenty specialists anticipate every possible scenario and transmit information enabling the pilot to follow the optimum flight plan andcomplete his mission successfully.
The Flight Director manages the team, and together with the pilot, takes the main strategic decisions.
Meteorologists analyze the weather forecasts to find a suitable window for the flight, as well as a favourable routing.
Air Traffic Controllers
They coordinate the flight trajectory with regional control centres.
The team calculates the flight parameters, taking into account meteorological data, amount of sunshine and air traffic restrictions.
The Capcom team is responsible for direct voice communications with the pilot.
Mission Control Center Monaco (MCC)
Speaking with the pilot from the MCC
Engineers draw up the flight plan and monitor the aircraft’s technical data.
Solar Impulse II Flight Control Center Locates to Monaco
Around-the-world solar flight that will launch from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in early March, returning by July 2015, will be controlled from Monaco.
With the assistance of H.S.H. Prince Albert II, the global flight control center for the around-the-world flight of the solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 opened in the principality of Monaco. Powered by thousands of solar cells on its wings and tail, the giant four-engine electric airplane aims to be the first to circumnavigate the globe without burning a drop of petroleum.
Prince Albert II has long been a champion of sustainable energy and clean transportation, sponsoring alternative vehicle expositions over the last couple decades.
Solar Impulse 2 will debate from Abu Dhabi for Oman, its first leg. From there, its pilot will fly across the Indian Ocean to the subcontinent. It’s next legs will take it to Burma and then China. In a non-stop flight expected to last as much as five days, the single pilot, either Bertrand Piccard or Andre Boschberg, will fly to Hawai’i. The next leg will again be overwater and end in Phoenix. With two more US stops, the plane will cross the Atlantic for either southern Europe or North Africa, concluding where it started: Abu Dhabi.
Planning and tracking of the flight will be from the Monaco control center. Live progress of the flight can be followed on the http://www.solarimpulse.com web site, as well as social media.