Dassault Systèmes has renewed its ongoing technical partnership with Solar Impulse and publicly committed itself to the next phases of the Swiss company’s record-breaking, solar-powered, round-the-world airplane project.
Solar Impulse, which has created the only plane that is able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel, has been using applications from Dassault Systèmes since 2006. These tools helped it develop its first test plane – Solar Impulse 1 – which served as a test bed for the incredibly complex new technologies required to fly using solar energy alone.
Its second model – Solar Impulse 2 – has been designed using Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, including its CATIA and ENOVIA applications. The plane, which successfully completed a test flight in June of this year, will now attempt a round-the-world challenge in 2015.
“For over a century, pioneers have been pushing the limits of aviation and transforming ideas into ‘firsts,’ from the first human flight to balloon flights and space missions once thought to be impossible,” said André Borschberg, Solar Impulse’s co-founder CEO and pilot. “We continue to apply this entrepreneurial spirit to engineering and research programs that blend 21st century technologies like the 3DEXPERIENCE platform with a mission to improve mankind’s impact on the environment.”
When designing Solar Impulse 2, the team faced new challenges and trade-offs to ensure greater reliability for the round-the-world flight attempt, which required sophisticated design and management tools. Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, they came up with a new design for the fuselage and wings, and created a cockpit that provides safety, comfort and command accessibility for the pilot.
“We had to be right the first time,” said Bertrand Piccard, initiator, chairman and pilot at Solar Impulse. “We needed proven, cutting-edge industry solutions to craft the experience for which we were looking. That’s why we went to Dassault Systèmes and its 3DEXPERIENCE platform. An experience perspective is exactly what we needed when creating an airplane to achieve such long flights. We’re in the cockpit for five days at a time. Everything, from the propulsion, to the electronics, to the crew facilities needs to be considered, planned, integrated and implemented for such a flight to be successful.”
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