- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Mission control for an international team trying to break two major ballooning records says the helium-filled balloon has passed the halfway mark of its journey across the Pacific Ocean.

Pilots Troy Bradley of New Mexico and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia set off from Saga, Japan, shortly before 6:30 a.m. Sunday Japan time en route to North America.

The departure came Saturday afternoon at mission control in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It says the balloon has been averaging more than 50 miles per hour and had traveled more than 2,700 miles and was nearing Midway Island on Monday night New Mexico time.

Bradley and Tiukhtyaev are trying to break a distance record of 5,208 miles and a flight-duration record of 137 hours.

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