TASS, July 10. Russian Air Force officer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Gennady Padalka has joined the crew of the Gulfstream G650ER jet, attempting to achieve a record-breaking fastest polar circumnavigation, organizers of the One More Orbit flight wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Padalka got on board of the jet in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan during the jet’s refuel stopover. The organizers pointed out that it took 27 minutes, 18 minutes less than planned.
Gulfstream took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:32 a.m. local time. The next refueling stop is planned in Mauritius, Western Indian Ocean. Then, the jet faces a long flight to cross the South Pole to reach the town of Punta Arenas, Chile. The crew is expected to return to Florida, completing the circumnavigation on July 11.
American astronaut Terry Virts, British pilot Hamish Harding and six more people from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Ukraine and South Africa. To achieve the world record, they need to cover 40,200 km in about 48 hours.
The flight is organized to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing as part of the Apollo 11 expedition, celebrated on July 20.