Satcom Direct (SD) and Inmarsat helped support the One More Orbit team’s mission to complete the fastest aerial circumnavigation of the earth via both geographical poles. SD’s connectivity and security infrastructure, in combination with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network, supported a live stream, as well as connectivity and flight deck communications support.
The feat was achieved using a Gulfstream G650ER owned by Qatar Executive, and was timed to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The flight took 46 hours 39 minutes and 38 seconds (to be officially confirmed), beating the existing record by some eight hours.
The communication solutions kept crew, ground control, support teams, a documentary production unit and social media supporters connected for the flight’s duration, using more than 33GB of data throughout the mission. The One More Orbit team were connected across the network service area with SD equipment including the Satcom Direct Router and SD Operating System, supporting multiple real-time streaming and communication capabilities.
The first-of-a-kind set-up underwent rigorous testing ahead of the attempt. The communications equipment was tested in the UK at SD’s Farnborough facility with Inmarsat and the film production crew. Testing was repeated at the Gulfstream service centre in Savannah, Georgia, and was put through its paces again on-wing ahead of take-off at Space Florida Launch and Landing Facility.
SD says its flight operations software platform, SD Pro, kept the aircraft synchronised with ground operations and enabled crew and mission control to exchange flight data to improve operational efficiency. It also enabled live flight tracking, which was publicly accessible through the One More Orbit website for the entirety of the 22,422-nautical-mile journey.
SD’s Threat Monitoring service was utilised to provide cyber security. Real-time detection, identification and mitigation of attempted cyber threats was supported by the SD network infrastructure, the SD Data Center and worldwide points of presence.
“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 50 years ago,” said Jim Jensen, founder and CEO at SD. “We wholeheartedly congratulate the One More Orbit crew and mission team for successfully completing this incredible record attempt. It highlights that visions can be made reality and we are privileged to have played a part in making modern-day history.”
Jensen added that business jet users will also benefit: “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.”