A revolutionary inflatable hangar has replaced a tornado-torn building in St. Louis, Missouri that was set aside for the Solar Impulse plane during its groundbreaking solar-powered flight across the United States. St. Louis is a symbolic stop for pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, who will pay their respects to Charles Lindbergh and “Spirit of St. Louis” – the first plane to successfully complete the trip from New York to Paris.

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The Solar Impulse plane has set out on the third leg of its trip across the United States and is scheduled to land in Missouri on Tuesday morning. The new inflatable hangar that is being used for the very first time is expected to “protect the aircraft upon landing,” the team announced in a statement.

The 21 hour flight from Texas to Missouri will be the longest yet for Piccard, and the team’s ground crew is expected to erect the inflatable hangar in a matter of hours. After 10 days, the plane will head to Washington DC before taking off to its final New York destination. To learn more about the revolutionary solar plane that is powered by 12,000 solar cells and travels in both daylight and at night, check out our coverage or follow the team on their blog.

+ Solar Impulse