A solar-powered airplane that is attempting to fly across the United States without using any fuel is en route from St. Louis to Cincinnati today (June 14).
The plane, called Solar Impulse, took off from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport early this morning, and is expected to land at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport around 9 p.m. EDT tonight, after approximately 16 hours in the air. During today's flight, the aircraft is expected to reach a cruising altitude of 10,000 feet (3,050 meters), according to company officials.
Originally, Solar Impulse was scheduled to fly directly from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., on this leg of the journey, but bad weather forced flight officials to readjust the route. The plane continues on to the nation's capital on Sunday (June 16).
Swiss aviator and Solar Impulse co-founder André Borschberg is piloting Solar Impulse on today's flight to Cincinnati. Solar Impulse's other co-founder, Bertrand Piccard, will fly the remaining distance to Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport on Sunday.
Each leg of Solar Impulse's flight is being streamed live online, and features commentary and detailed information about the aircraft's position, altitude and speed. The live feed also includes views inside the plane's cockpit, and from Solar Impulse's mission control center in Switzerland.
Solar Impulse is the first plane capable of flying day and night without using fuel. The plane's record-setting coast-to-coast journey is part of an initiative called "Clean Generation," which aims to promote clean technologies and sustainable energy solutions.
The aircraft, powered entirely by solar panels and onboard batteries, generates about the same amount of power as a small scooter, company officials have said.
Solar Impulse began its unprecedented cross-country expedition at Moffett Airfield near San Francisco on May 3. In early July, the plane will complete the final leg of its journey, flying from Washington, D.C., to New York City.