NEW YORK, February 4. /TASS/. The US-Russian crew of the Two Eagles balloon - pilots Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev - have been nominated for the Collier Trophy, one of the most prestigious aviation awards in the United States, Paul Garver, manager of the International Balloon Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, told TASS on Wednesday.
The annual award administered by the US National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is presented "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year."
The Two Eagles balloon launched on January 24, 2015, in the Japanese city of Saga crossed the Pacific Ocean and splashed down a few miles off the coast of Mexico on January 31. Bradley and Tiukhtyaev covered the distance of 10,696 kilometers (6,646 miles) staying aloft for 6 days, 16 hours and 37 minutes. The previous record of slightly less than 8,400 kilometers was set in 1978 when the US crew aboard the Double Eagle air balloon crossed the Atlantic. The trip took 137 hours.
The Airbus A350 XWB jet, creators of new US spacecraft New Shepard, the Dawn project to study an asteroid belt with the help of an automatic station, the New Horizons project to study Pluto and several other projects have also been nominated for the award named after Robert J.Collier, a pioneer of aeronautics of the early 20th century. The winner will be announced on March 8 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.