Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Record-Setting Flight Attempt to Launch From Kennedy

Renowned adventurer and multiple aviation world record holder Steve Fossett will attempt to add yet another record to his already impressive list of accomplishments.

Having already completed a record-setting first with the solo around-the-world flight in March of 2005 while piloting the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, Fossett will attempt to improve upon that record in what is being billed as the "Ultimate Flight." Again piloting the GlobalFlyer solo, Fossett will attempt to travel 26,084 miles, taking off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, circumnavigating the globe once and continuing on to land across the Atlantic Ocean at Kent International airport in England.

This flight would be the longest for any kind of aircraft in history, solo or otherwise. The record would best his own solo record, as well as the previous airplane distance record in the Voyager aircraft, which was designed by Scaled Composites founder and CEO Burt Rutan, and piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeanna Yeager. It would also exceed the overall aircraft record set by the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon in 1999.

This feat alone would warrant notice here at SpaceBlog Alpha purely for its aeronautical achievements and enduring spirit, but that only tells half of the story. As you may know, Scaled Composites is a joint owner of The Spaceship Company, partnered with Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic to begin offering commercial space flights in 2008. These amazingly gifted engineers at Scaled Composites led by the irrepressible Rutan, coupled with the flamboyant and adventurous Branson, have made the Virgin Galactic endeavour a very real and fascinating development in the history of space exploration.

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