Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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The solar cell arrays, which cover about 75 percent of its upper wing surface, are clearly evident in this view of the Pathfinder solar-electric aircraft. The solar arrays are capable not only of absorbing direct sunlight, but can also absorb light reflected from the ground through the transparent lower surface of the 98-foot-long wing. Engineers and technicians from Pathfinder's developer, AeroVironment, Inc., conducted a successful two-hour check-out flight from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, on Nov. 19, 1996. The craft then underwent preperations at AeroVironment's Simi Valley, California, facility for a new series of flight tests in Hawaii, during summer, 1997.