Solar Impulse plane ‘at home amidst innovation hub, Silicon Valley’

Emirati Hasan Al Redaini will be sending periodic updates as he travels with Solar Impulse 2, which is circumnavigating the globe using solar power.

Hasan Al Redaini, communications officer for Mubadala, is travelling with the Solar Impulse 2 team. Christopher Pike / The National
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Since my last column, Solar Impulse 2 has successfully completed two further legs of its round-the-world journey.

After the aircraft landed at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, California last week, we spent time mapping the next leg of the journey, monitoring weather conditions and making minor repairs.

Moffett Airfield is situated between Palo Alto and Cupertino, which make up part of Silicon Valley – the world hub for innovation and development of cutting-edge technologies.

The airfield is like its own hub of innovation and collaboration. It includes the Ames Research Centre, which has led Nasa in conducting world-class research and development in aeronautics, exploration technology and science for more than 75 years.

The airfield is leased to Google, which uses it for aeronautics, aviation and space research.

The Google-Nasa partnership will help to push research and innovation to further limits in thefield of aeronautics and space. Across from the airfield is Lockheed Martin Space Systems, which conducts military and space research.

Being surrounded by the cutting-edge technology and vibrant activity at Moffett Airfield reminded me of Nibras Aerospace Park in Al Ain, being developed by Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Airports Company.

Once complete, Nibras will truly be the UAE’s first aerospace hub, including all elements of the aerospace value chain, vested in innovation, research and development, and will help to establish a sustainable and global aerospace sector in the UAE.

From California, Si2 took off for Phoenix, Arizona. After a 16-hour flight, Si2 landed in Phoenix on Tuesday at 8am UAE time. It left California nearly three years to the day after Solar Impulse 1 began its cross-US flight from California in 2013.

Our current flight is following the same path across the United States, with the ultimate goal of getting to New York City as soon as possible so that preparations can begin for the Atlantic crossing.

I also would like to congratulate Masdar on its 10-year anniversary and its great achievements in the domain of renewable energy over the past decade, marking their success and reputation as a global player.

Hasan Al Redaini, 25, works for group communications at Mubadala and is travelling with the Solar Impulse 2 team. Follow him on Twitter at @hasanrtw.