Astronaut Terry Wirth has already completed 3400 orbits of the Earth during his time as a NASA employee, but intends to make another trip around the world. This time by plane, in the atmosphere of the planet, but at an unprecedented speed. Simply put, space veterans are aiming for a new world record.
The start is scheduled for July 9, landing is expected on the 11th, the whole journey should take about 48 hours, but at least 23 minutes less than the previous record. To do this, the team will have to maintain an average flight speed of at least 900 km / h. The most suitable device for this was considered the aircraft of the Gulfstream G650ER model, the cruising speed of which is 0.85 Max. Theoretically, they could fly on a fighter, but it has both a shorter flight range and a smaller capacity. And the team plans to take at least four veterans on board - they deserve it.
The flight will begin at 9:32 am ET from the Kennedy Space Center airfield, marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. From Florida, the plane will fly 22, 422 nautical miles across the North Pole and land in Nur-Sultan (Astana). There, in addition to fuel and supplies, they will take on board Gennady Padalka - a Russian member of the international team, a veteran of Roskomos, friend and colleague of Wirths.
The next stop will be in Mauritius, and then the longest and most difficult stage of the journey begins - through Antarctica and the South Pole, in the direction of Chile, with a landing in Punta Arenas. And with little or no respite, on to the finish line in Florida. Refueling and other procedures during each stop are allotted only 45 minutes, most of the time the team will stay in the sky, but the veteran cosmonauts are no stranger to it. Whenever possible, the trip will be broadcast live from the aircraft.