World circumnavigation speed record to be streamed live over GX

08 July 2019: Inmarsat’s award-winning Global Xpress (GX) service, the world’s only global high speed broadband network, will be used to provide live-streaming for a world-record attempt for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth for any aircraft, pole to pole, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The One More Orbit mission is the inspiration of Action Aviation Chairman Hamish Harding and former International Space Station Commander and NASA Space Shuttle pilot Col. Terry Virts, and is a tribute to the past, present, and future of space exploration as well as highlighting how humans can push the boundaries of aeronautics.

They will attempt the world record in a Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER which will depart and return to Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility (the former Shuttle Landing Facility) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, from where Apollo 11 launched their historic mission. The flight will depart on 9 July at 09:32 EDT, the same time the original Apollo 11 flight took off 50 years ago, making only three brief refuelling stops along the way in an attempt to complete the route in 48 hours.

Live feed

While One More Orbit pushes the boundaries of aeronautics, we will be pushing the boundaries of satellite technology not only providing safety services and cockpit communications for the crew, but also inflight connectivity services via our high-speed, global GX broadband connectivity in conjunction with our partner Satcom Direct.

The live GX feed from the aircraft to the One More Orbit’s website and social media platforms will enable the world to watch this historic flight in real-time as well as provide an opportunity to connect with major news outlets including iHeart media, Facebook’s Anderson Cooper Full Circle and the BBC. The footage will also be used for a documentary about the mission.

Hamish Harding, who will be one of the four pilots flying the continuous mission, said: “To break the current record, which is unchallenged since 2008, we’ll need to push the limits of speed and aircraft performance. We’ll also make the whole attempt carbon neutral and hopefully, our record will be certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and the Guinness World Records.”

Space exploration

“This is our way of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, as we bring focus to the past, present and future of space exploration,” said Terry Virts.

“We will keep in touch with folks on the ground with a live stream powered by inflight connectivity providers Inmarsat and Satcom Direct, documenting the 25,000-mile (40,000 km) journey. My ISS crewmate, Russian cosmonaut Col. Gennady Padalka, will be joining us in the spirit of international cooperation as we fly ‘one more orbit.’”

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce said: “I am absolutely 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 of all time – the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Bold endeavours

“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.”

Our GX network, which began global services in 2015, remains the world’s first and only seamless global mobile broadband network and is seen as the gold standard for high-speed broadband connections wherever customers need them in the world.

In order to continue to meet our customers growing connectivity demands, we have recently announced the next phase of GX’s evolution, enhancing global mobile broadband coverage with a transformation in network capacity and service capability.

Ultra-high performance

Our new partnership with Airbus will deliver three next-generation GX satellites to form a highly-secure, inter-operable, ultra-high performance network with the agility to direct capacity in real-time to the areas of highest demand.

In addition, we are introducing two new satellite payloads dedicated to the Arctic region in partnership with Space Norway to ensure continuous coverage above 65º North – a world’s first for high-speed broadband capacity for mobility segments in the Arctic region.

To find out more about One More Orbit and for details of where you can watch the live feed from 9 July head to the mission website: www.onemoreorbit.com.

For more information contact news@inmarsat.com.