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Solar-powered aircraft heading to U.S.

A Boeing 747 carrying the solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse to the United States left the Swiss military airfield of Payerne Thursday.

Solar Impulse is the world’s most ambitious solar-powered aircraft project not designed to carry passengers but to promote renewable energy.

The Boeing 747 freighter, which is operated by Cargolux Airlines, will take the Solar Impulse to the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Airfield in San Francisco. From there, the Solar Impulse will begin its Across America mission, going coast to coast from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. and New York City. There will be there or four stopovers on the way.

The Solar Impulse has achieved five world records, including the record for the longest day and night solar-powered flight at 26 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds. The aircraft has a wingspan of 63.4 meters.

The Solar Impulse project is now building a second-generation aircraft designed to fly around the world in 2015.