Executives of Satcom Direct, a business aviation solutions specialist, offered a warm welcome to a very special Gulfstream this week. The jet had just completed a record-breaking attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a pole to pole path, knocking around eight hours off the existing record.
Launched in celebration of the half-century anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the flight was tracked, managed and live streamed with the assistance of SD and their partner Inmarsat. The flight was observed around the world by aviation enthusiasts, thanks to the combination of SD’s connectivity capabilities and Inmarsat’s global GX coverage.
Jim Jensen, SD Founder and CEO, said in a statement,
“We are thrilled to have been a part of this inspiring adventure which pays homage to our great Apollo 11 astronauts who boldly took that momentous flight to the moon fifty years ago. We wholeheartedly congratulate the One More Orbit crew and mission team for successfully completing this incredible record attempt.”
A record-breaking journey
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, the Gulfstream G650ER took off from the same site that the historic flight did 50 years ago. Not only that, but they took off at precisely the same time too, at 09:32 on the 9th July.
The G650ER is marketed as the world’s fastest ultra-long-range jet, capable of reaching Mach 0.925 and cruising comfortably at Mach 9.0. During the course of the flight, the aircraft required just three pit stops for refueling, which were completed at high speed so as not to jeopardize the record-breaking attempt.
The Gulfstream landed at the Space Florida Launch and Landing Facility, previously known as the Shuttle Landing Facility, following a flight time of 46 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds. Although this is yet to be officially confirmed, if the time is correct it knocks a staggering eight hours off the existing record.
Livestreamed around the world
To support the endeavor of the One More Orbit team and the record-breaking attempt, the SD team installed equipment and services to deliver the fastest connection possible for private aviation. Using the Satcom Direct Router and SD Operating System, the One More Orbit team remained connected across the network service area.
As well as supporting the mission team, SD was tasked with supporting a documentary filing team also. Having extensively tested the system in the UK at SD’s Farnborough facility, the solution was further put through its paces in flight ahead of the launch on July 9th.
For the flight crew, the performance of the aircraft was critical to the mission, and SD’s flight operation software was crucial. Through SD Pro, the aircraft remained synchronized with the ground operations, enabling both flight crew and mission control to keep an eye on all essential flight data for optimum operational efficiency.
For those of us on the ground, the SD support allowed live flight tracking of all 22,422 nautical miles of the flight, via the One More Orbit website. This was in tandem with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) service, which provided broadband coverage for the livestream.
Jensen commented on the system’s capabilities, saying,
“The One More Orbit mission aligns with our company philosophy of always pushing boundaries, looking for new solutions and delivering effective connectivity, as we take on the challenges and make the seemingly impossible, possible. Business jet users will only benefit from this adventure as we have learned a few things along the way. Not only has this set a new world record, it has raised the bar for business aviation connectivity expectations.”