SolarStratos accomplishes the first solar-powered free fall of all time

Raphaël Domjan, founder and future pilot of the SolarStratos solar aeroplane, has achieved the first ever jump from an electric plane. He also made the first solar-powered free-fall of all time.

SolarStratos first Solar free fall
SolarStratos aims to be the first manned solar-powered aircraft to penetrate the stratosphere. | Copyright Fred Merz – SolarStratos

Exclusively powered by solar energy, the experimental SolarStratos aircraft reached an altitude of 5,000 feet (1,520 meters), allowing project initiator Raphaël Domjan to throw himself into the void, freefalling several hundred meters and reaching a speed of more than 150 km/h before landing.

Two world firsts were achieved during this historic flight : Raphaël Domjan made the first jump in history from an electric plane and also accomplished the first solar free fall, without any CO2 emissions.

"I am very proud of this achievement", said the Neuchâtel explorer and lecturer. "Our aim is to demonstrate the potential of solar energy and electric mobility. It is a message of hope for future generations : tomorrow they will still be able to dream and carry out activities such as parachuting, for example, but without greenhouse gas emissions and in absolute silence. I have always been fascinated by aeroplanes and I hope that this will continue to make the young people of tomorrow dream, thanks to aircrafts that are more respectful of our planet and our climate."

To the edge of space and beyond

Unveiled in 2016 in Payerne in the canton of Vaud, the SolarStratos project consists of a unique 8.5-meter-long aircraft that has a wingspan of 24.8 meters, weighs 450 kilograms and is covered with 22 square meters of latest-generation solar cells developed by CSEM. A symbol of pioneering spirit, vision, and innovation, SolarStratos aims to be the first manned solar-powered aircraft to penetrate the stratosphere.

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