Harding and Virts break world circumnavigation speed record in a Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER aircraft

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One More Orbit flight crew is successful in its Pole to Pole World Circumnavigation Speed Record marking the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing and the 500th anniversary of first-ever global circumnavigation 

At 12:12:23 UTC today, Action Aviation Chairman Hamish Harding, Astronaut Terry Virts and crew made history by beating the world record for any aircraft flying over the North and South poles in a Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER aircraft. The mission’s record flight time is 46 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds.

Our mission, titled One More Orbit, pays homage to the Apollo 11 moon landing achievement, by highlighting how humans push the boundaries of aeronautics,” says Harding. “We did this during the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the 500th anniversary of man first circling the planet. It is our way of paying tribute to the past, the present, and the future of space exploration.”

The One More Orbit crew on the ground back at Kennedy Space Center

Qatar Executive EVP Ettore Rodaro says, “We launched on July 9, 2019, at 9:32 a.m. and landed on July 11, 2019, at 8:12 a.m. Our new world record is certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™. Our Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650 is the fastest ultra-long-range business jet in the world. It has phenomenal range capabilities, industry-leading cabin technology and unparalleled passenger comfort, making it the perfect aircraft to attempt this mission in. It can fly at a faster speed for longer distances than any other jet, with its incredible 7,500 nautical mile (13,890 km) range.

The mission has utilized the skills of hundreds of talented technicians across the planet and is a testament to what can be achieved when we pull together, even with crazy deadlines and time zone challenges,” says Untitled Executive Producer Jim Evans. “Our production crew covered location action for our documentary in Florida, Chile, Kazakhstan and Mauritius.”

Virts, a former Commander of the International Space Station and filmmaker known for his work on the IMAX film ‘A Beautiful Planet’, is “chronicling the complex preparations and global effort it takes to achieve this historic record. We’ve captured a documentary about the mission, which we hope to share with audiences worldwide in the near future.”

Terry Virts, Hamish Harding and Hamish Son Giles.jpg
Hamish Harding, Terry Virts and Hamish’s son, Giles

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, says: “I am delighted that, as Inmarsat celebrates 40 years of innovation and chartering new digital frontiers, we have this amazing opportunity to support the 50th celebration of one of the space industry’s most momentous events; the Apollo 11 moon landing.

“I believe that bold endeavours like One More Orbit offer a moment for self-reflection. They remind us to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in our day-to-day lives as we too keep pushing the boundaries of what our satellite communications can do to connect the world to a better future.”

The Carbon Underground is proud to be a partner of this historic mission,” says Larry Kopald, the company’s co-founder and president. “By calling attention to one of humankind’s greatest efforts we remind ourselves of what we are capable of doing. Alleviating the existential threat of climate change by restoring the carbon balance and cycle will take a similar effort, with a similar commitment to speed.

The One More Orbit team thanks its sponsors, Satcom Direct and Inmarsat, for providing the satellite bandwidth and live feed from the aircraft; G-Technology; Action Aviation; and Space Florida. Carbon Underground for their efforts to make this mission carbon negative.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL, 11 July 2019

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