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Monday, March 9, 2015, 16:49

Solar Impulse is go from Abu Dhabi

By Celily Liu
Solar Impulse is go from Abu Dhabi

The Solar Impulse 2 takes off at Al Bateen airport in Abu Dhabi, at the start of an attempt to fly around the world in the solar-powered plane March 9, 2015. Two Swiss pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, on Monday embarked on the attempt to fly around the world on the solar-powered airplane that is expected to last for five months and is aimed at promoting clean technology in the aviation sector. On its five-month journey of 35,000 km (22,000 miles), the engines will be powered only by solar energy. (Photo / Agencies)

The first solar powered plane attempting to make a round the world trip, left Abu Dhabi at 7:12am local time on Monday, embarking on the first leg of its flight to Muscat, Oman.

The long-awaited moment came after years of preparation by the Solar Impulse team, its sponsors and partners, who are turning a dream into reality with the goal of promoting an increased use of clean and renewable energy.

Andre Borschberg was at the controls of the single-seater aircraft as it left and will share duties with co-pilot Bertrand Piccard.

Take off came after a 40 minute delay while the team checked an electrical device.

At Mission Control Center (MCC) in Monaco, where flight information is collected and monitored, the atmosphere was anxious as the team awaited take off.

Around 20 engineers and specialists are taking care of meteorological data monitoring, air traffic control, mission control and flight strategy control. Another team of around 20 media specialists work at the MCC to take care of communications work.

Take off occurred in a matter of seconds and workers at Mission Control Center (MCC) in Monaco watched the live broadcast, clapping their hands as the plane took off.

Albert II, Prince of Monaco, attended as a special guest to express his support. He wore the MCC uniform and sat among the engineers during take off.

Prince Albert said it was an honor to host the MCC in Monaco because it was great to have the principality's name associated with the project as it supports renewable energy.

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