An international flight crew has broken a world record after flying around the world in 46 hours, 39 minutes, and 38 seconds.
The crew, known collectively as “One More Orbit,” flew over the North and South poles from July 9 to July 11, 2019.
The team, which flew in a Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER ultra long-range business jet, managed to beat the world record by 5 hours, 51 minutes, and 26 seconds, according to its website.
One More Orbit’s flight broke two previous records. The first, for the quickest overall time to fly around the world was set in 1977 by Capt. Walter Mullikin, while the second, for the fastest average speed, was set by Capt. Aziz Ojjeh in 2008.
The total route spanned about 22,328 nautical miles (25,695 miles/41,351 km), said Captain Hamish Harding, a mission director and one of the pilots.
The average speed was about 535 mph, according to The Associated Press’s calculations.
A photo from the Apollo 11 landing on July 20, 1969.
The pilots attempted the flight to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11’s first moon landing on July 20, 1969, which saw humans go to the moon for the first time.
It started and ended its mission at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida — exactly where the Apollo 11 crew took off almost 50 years ago.
July 9, 2019’s mission also started at 9:32 EDT — the exact same time as Apollo 11, One More Orbit said.
An aerial view of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The group consisted of three mission directors and six members of the Qatar Executive crew. One mission director, Captain Hamish Harding, and three other crew members served as pilots.
The entire flight consisted of nationals from the UK, US, Russia, Germany, Denmark, South Africa, Ukraine, and Poland, according to the team’s site.
Terry Virts, a former International Space Station (ISS) commander, and his former ISS crewmate, Russian Gennady Padalka, served as mission directors, and were also present during the flight.
‘NASCAR pit-stop intense’
Because the journey was so long, the team needed to refuel three times, in Kazakhstan, Mauritius, and Chile, Harding said.
Harding said prior to the flight that the team would attempt refuel stops of around 30 minutes each.
Virts, the American, described the fueling stop as “NASCAR pit-stop intense” after the flight, the AP reported. Padalka, the Russian, left after the second fuel stop.
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