Former Astronaut Terry Virts Set World Circumnavigation Speed Record to Honor Apollo 11
July 11, 2019
Retired NASA astronaut and Omnipoynt consultant Terry Virts, and an international team of aviators, landed at Kennedy Space Center Thursday morning, July 11, 2019, after breaking multiple global flying records for circumnavigating Earth via the planet's poles. They made the historic flight, in part, to honor the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 moonshot.
The 25,000-mile mission, dubbed One More Orbit, touched down at Kennedy Space Center’s historic Shuttle Landing Facility — the same runway used by NASA's fleet of space shuttles — at 8:12 a.m. EDT, nearly three hours ahead of its planned arrival. The recorded flight time of 46 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds broke the previous record of just over 54 hours, which was set in 1977.
Traveling in a Qatar Airways Gulfstream G650ER, the team traversed the globe at an average speed of 534.97 mph (860.95 km/h), setting a new world speed record. The previous record of 511 mph (822 km/h) was set in 2008. (Different polar-circumnavigation missions spend varying amounts of time on the ground, explaining why the total-time record and average-speed records weren't set on the same flight.)
Virts described the flight as "long but fast." He explained that the total flight time was just under 48 hours, which sounds like a long time, but in reality, it went by very quickly. "It was a very busy, very intense 48 hours," he told Space.com. "But I wouldn't trade it for anything."
Commander Virts consults and advises at Omnipoynt on space, aerospace, management, and technology. Terry recently published a limited edition book, 50th Anniversary Artful Commission of Apollo11 Flight Plan, which can be viewed and purchased at https://www.apolloflightplan.com/.
For more information, visit www.omnipoynt.com
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