Solar Impulse 2 takes flight for Europe

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Solar Impulse 2 gracefully lifts off from JFK International Airport(Credit: Solar Impulse)

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Solar Impulse 2 (SI2) has taken off from New York on the next leg of its around the world journey, which will take the zero fuel aircraft across the Atlantic to Europe. The mission has already claimed 8 world records in an attempt to highlight the potential of green technologies that could help protect the environment from mankind's ever-increasing footprint.

SI2 completed its crossing of the US on June 11 with a flight over the Statue of Liberty before landing at the John F. Kennedy Airport. The 15th leg of the journey was initially scheduled for Sunday, but adverse weather conditions delayed the effort, forcing the 72 m (236 ft) wide aircraft to shelter in Hanger 19 at JKF in the hope of friendlier skies. Compared to previous setbacks suffered by SI2, the delay was a minor inconvenience, with the Atlantic flight lifting off at 2.30 AM EDT this morning.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard pictured shortly before take-off(Credit: Solar Impulse)

The crossing is expected to take around 90 hours, depending on the ever changing weather conditions prevailing in the Atlantic, and is expected be one of the most challenging legs of the trip for pilot Bertrand Piccard to date. He will take his rest in 20 minute stints as he maintains a near constant vigil, negotiating adverse weather conditions such as localized rain showers, as well as the invisible borders that mark out a country's airspace

If all goes well, SI2 will touch down in Seville Airport in Spain on June 23. After arriving in Europe, the solar-powered albatross will continue to forge a path to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where the ambitious endeavor to circumnavigate the globe began in March 2015.

A live stream of the Atlantic crossing is available for those interested in following the journey in real time.

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