Around the World, Under the SunS

The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered glider with a wingspan larger than that of a Boeing 787, completed its first true flight today, a major milestone in its aim to circumnavigate the globe in 2012.

In December the plane left the ground for the first time, though only for 28 seconds. Today's 90-minute adventure was its first true test flight, and its creators couldn't have been more pleased with the results. Bertrand Piccard, the founder of the Solar Impulse program, said, "Eighty-seven minutes of intense emotion after seven years of research, testing and perseverance. Never has an airplane as large and light ever flown before!"

Around the World, Under the SunS

The ultimate goal of the project, a flight around the world, is planned for 2012, but further test flights later this year will tackle the next major hurdle: flying at night. [Wired]