First solar-powered aircraft with fuel cells flown by Electra.aero

The first flight of Electra.aero’s solar-battery-powered research plane with fuel cells has been completed.

The solar-powered UAS with fuel cells took off for its first flight from Virginia’s Manassas Regional Airport. It is the first aircraft that the corporation has made public following the opening of its new development plant there.

The plane was known as the Dawn One. The wider Stratospheric Airborne Climate Observatory System (SACOS) program includes that aircraft as one of its many components. James G. Anderson, a professor at Harvard University, is in charge of developing the SACOS program. It is supported by a contract with the Weld Foundation for Scientific and Environmental Development and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is where the Dawn One aircraft project had its start, under the direction of two of its professors, John Hansman and Mark Drela. The project received thorough aircraft design, building, and testing from Electra.

The fuel cell-equipped solar-battery-electric plane is one of several elements in Electra’s ongoing mission to create low- and zero-carbon plane propulsion technology. The company has also been developing turbine-electric aircraft and hydrogen-based solutions.

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