Press Release

Helios flight planned for today (13 August 2001)

By SpaceRef Editor
August 13, 2001
Filed under ,

With two days of weather-influenced delays, NASA engineers are hopeful the
flight of the solar-powered Helios flying wing can take place today. Takeoff
would be about 8 a.m. Hawaii time (11 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time). As of 5
a.m. Hawaii time, the weather forecast was for improved conditions today.
Cirrus clouds over the Hawaiian region over the weekend led to the
postponement of the flight. Helios, in its present form, relies on solar
cells for powering its 14 electric motors and the cirrus clouds could
diminish the amount of sunlight the aircraft receives as it strives to reach
a maximum altitude of 95,000 to 100,000 feet. The aircraft is located at the
U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai
to take advantage of long summer sunlight hours to achieve a high altitude
flight.

Ultimately, when a regenerative electric system is perfected for Helios, its
flight would not be limited to daylight hours when solar energy can be used.

SpaceRef staff editor.