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The SolarStratos Mission: Sun-Powered Plane Goes on Eco Adventure to the Stratosphere

Until recently, it was necessary to use large quantities of energy or helium to reach the stratosphere. Now, technology has opened the door for manned solar and electric aviation on the edge of space.

The aptly-named SolarStratos -  a two-seater solar plane - will venture into the stratosphere, propelled solely by SunPower® solar energy without emitting any pollutants into this fragile environment, demonstrating that it is possible to travel autonomously using renewable energy. As the exclusive distributors of SunPower® solar panels in Malta, Alternative Technologies Ltd. shares some interesting facts about the stratosphere:

1. The stratosphere is the atmosphere's second layer

The earth's atmosphere consists of five layers. We live in one layer, called the troposphere, where the clouds and most of the water vapour reside.  The stratosphere is the atmosphere's next layer.

2. Airplanes fly at this layer to avoid turbulence

If you’ve flown before, you’ve experienced looking down at a carpet of clouds below.  You were in the stratosphere. As the air in this layer is very dry due to little water vapour, clouds are a rare occurrence here.  Planes fly in this layer of vast, blue sky to avoid turbulence and because they can cover more distance than in the troposphere, while using less fuel.

3. The stratosphere is abundant in ozone

Ozone is an unusual type of oxygen molecule that absorbs the sun's UV radiation, which it uses to heat this layer in the atmosphere.

4. There are some species of birds capable of flying in the stratosphere!

Although uncommon, some bird species - such as types of mountain-dwelling birds and vultures - have ventured into the lower levels of the stratosphere.

Powered solely by SunPower®, the SolarStratos is the first commercial two-seater solar plane in history to penetrate the atmosphere and fly at the edge of space.  With 22 metre squared of solar cells, and a wingspan covering almost 25 meters, this solar bird will fly at a weight of 450 kg.

If you’re looking to join an even bigger mission, a global mission to reduce our impact on the environment by investing in the most efficient solar panels Malta - and the world - has to offer, Contact us at Alternative Technologies Ltd. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can save your environment and cut down on your utility bills using the most efficient source of alternative energy in Malta, our team will be happy to help with any of your needs.