International crew sets new world circumnavigation record – organizers

TASS Russian News Agency | Jul 11, 2019 at 2:35 PM

NEW YORK, July 11. /TASS/. The international crew of the Gulfstream G650ER jet has broken the world record of the fastest polar circumnavigation on Thursday, organizers of the One More Orbit flight reported on the flight’s official Twitter page.

"Touch down! #OneMoreOrbit mission is completed!" they wrote. "Great achievement by #OneMoreOrbit in their attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a Gulfstream jet in just 48 hours to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11!," they added.

The live feed from the cockpit on board the ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650ER jet was turned off during the landing for the sake of safely finishing the flight. Therefore, the landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was not broadcast live on YouTube.

The previous record was set in 2008, when TAG Group holding pilots circumnavigated Earth flying over both Poles in 52 hours and 32 minutes at an average speed of approximately 822 km/h. The One More Orbit flight participants were attempting to cover 40,200 km in around 48 hours, flying at a speed of 838 km/h. The precise record time exceeded the expectations - 46 hours 39 minutes and 38 seconds.

The new world record now has to be verified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).

Around the world in 46 hours

The jet took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:32 a.m. local time on Tuesday. On Wednesday, having crossed the North Pole, Gulfstream landed in the Kazakh capital for refueling, where the crew was joined by Russian Air Force officer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. He stayed in Mauritius after the refueling stop at this Western Indian Ocean island on Wednesday. On Thursday, the jet had the last refueling stopover in Chilean town of Punta Arenas, where it was held up a little due to technical issues (unplanned oil refill).

The crew is made up of former NASA astronaut Terry Virts, British pilot Hamish Harding and six more people from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Ukraine and South Africa. They were flying on an ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650ER jet equipped with two Rolls-Royce BR725 engines able to travel to up to 13,890 km at the 15,600 km altitude.

Moon landing commemoration record

The flight was carried out to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing as part of the Apollo 11 expedition, celebrated on July 20. Virts was broadcasting the flight live and wants to direct a documentary about it.

On July 20, 1969, the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle landed on the Noon surface for the first time in history. Neil Armstrong was the commander of the expedition, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin were the other two crewmembers.