Phone : +41 44 632 89 52
The goal of this project is to design and build a solar powered micro airplane for autonomous exploration. This system, named Sky-Sailor, is fully autonomous in navigation and power generation. Equipped with solar cells covering its wing, it retrieves energy from the sun in order to supply power to the propulsion system and the control electronics, and charge the battery with the surplus of energy. During the night, the only energy available comes from the battery, which discharges slowly
until the next morning when a new cycle starts.
This project started in 2004 under a contract with European Space Agency to study the feasibility of a Martian Solair Airplane. A lot of work was done on the optimization of the various elements of the energy chain, from the solar celsl to the propeller. The actual prototype weighs 2.4 kg for a wingspan of 3.2 meters. The 216 silicone solar cells are able to deliver up to 90 W at noon during summer whereas the power consumption of the airplane is 16 W at level flight. In June 2008, the objective of Sky-Sailor was reached. The airplane flew more than 27 hours continuously and autonomously. This 874 km flight proved for the first time that it is feasible to stay in the air with the only use of solar energy, and at constant altitude, without the help of altitude gain before the night or thermal soaring.
Report of the 27h flight [pdf]
Article on ETH Life [link]
Article in the Zürcher Tagblatt [pdf]
Article in the Aviation Magazine [pdf]
Article in La Côte [pdf]
Diese Website wird in älteren Versionen von Netscape ohne graphische Elemente dargestellt. Die Funktionalität der Website ist aber trotzdem gewährleistet. Wenn Sie diese Website regelmässig benutzen, empfehlen wir Ihnen, auf Ihrem Computer einen aktuellen Browser zu installieren. Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf
The content in this site is accessible to any browser or Internet device, however, some graphics will display correctly only in the newer versions of Netscape. To get the most out of our site we suggest you upgrade to a newer browser.