Following the record breaking oceanic flight of 5 days and 5 nights (117 hours and 52 minutes) in a solar powered airplane, Solar Impulse will undergo maintenance repairs on the batteries due to damages brought about by over heating. During the first ascend on day one of the flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the battery temperature increased too much due to over insulation.
And while the Mission Team was monitoring this very closely during the mission leg, there was no way to decrease the temperature for the remaining duration of the flight as each daily cycle requires an ascend to 28’000 feet and descend for energy management issues.
The damage to certain parts of the batteries is irreversible and will require repairs and replacements that will take several weeks to work through. In parallel, the Solar Impulse engineering team is looking at various options for better management of the cooling and heating process for very long flights.
Solar Impulse does not see the possibility for any flights before 2-3 weeks at the earliest.
Having started in Abu Dhabi in early March, SI has completed 8 legs covering nearly 18’000 km thus far it it’s around the world journey.