SolarStratos: Parachutist Raphael Domjan makes world’s first jump from solar-powered plane

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The project’s aim is to demonstrate that activities such as skydiving can be carried out without producing greenhouse gases.

A parachutist has completed the world’s first jump from a solar-powered aircraft.

Raphael Domjan reached a speed of 93mph (150kph) before releasing his parachute and landing safely in Payerne, western Switzerland.

The weather for the flight was good and the two-seater prototype plane, covered with 22 square metres (237 square feet) of solar panels, soared to a height of 1,520 metres (5,000ft), the SolarStratos project said.

Mr Domjan, who also co-piloted the plane, said: “Today there were many firsts but the most important is [this is] the first time ever that someone jumped from an electric aircraft.


                              SolarStratos: Parachutist Raphael Domjan makes world's first jump from solar-powered plane

“And this is something that is changing the future for this sport for skydivers. It was the first time we did a solar skydive, I climbed with the energy coming from the solar cells of the plane.”

Mr Domjan, the man behind the project, wants to prove that activities such as skydiving can be carried out without producing planet-warming greenhouse gases.


                              SolarStratos: Parachutist Raphael Domjan makes world's first jump from solar-powered plane

Emissions from kerosene-fuelled planes currently account for about 2% of the man-made carbon emissions.

“I hope that this will continue to make the young people of tomorrow dream, thanks to aircraft that are more respectful of our planet and our climate,” Mr Domjan added.


                              SolarStratos: Parachutist Raphael Domjan makes world's first jump from solar-powered plane

The team’s next milestone is to make the first solar-powered flight to the stratosphere, which it plans to complete in 2022.

Four years ago, Switzerland’s Solar Impulse mission completed the first circumnavigation of the globe with a solar-powered plane.

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