Solar Flight

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 - 2:49pm

An aircraft powered with only solar energy completes a record flight...

NBC -- For the first time, a plane running only on solar power has maintained flight for a full day even through the darkness of night.

The Swiss-led team behind the plane is calling it a milestone.

The "Solar Impulse" made history today as its 24-hour test flight was completed without a hitch.

The solar-powered plane stayed in the air throughout the night running only on the energy it stored up during the day with its 12,000 solar cells.

The team behind the project says that proves the plane could theoretically fly indefinitely.

They say it's a demonstration of the possibilities of new energy-efficient technologies.

Bertrand Piccard, the project co-founder, said "we were convinced with renewable energies you can achieve a lot of things, but so many people were skeptical and we couldn't prove we were right. We had not yet the credibility. After landing, we had the credibility."

But with plans to eventually take a larger version of the craft around the world, they've got a lot of work ahead of them.

More than 26 hours in a cockpit, a cold and lonely night in the air all necessary to prove a powerful point. Their final goal: A flight around the globe.

(All video provided by Solar Impulse)

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