(CNN) – As the experiments go on, this one must be pretty spectacular – 19 hours, 17,800 kilometers (about 11,060 miles), 100 metric tons of jet fuel, and not one but two separate sunrises.
Australian Qantas Airlines on Thursday launches a one-off research flight that will carry about 50 people from London to Sydney nonstop, closing the longest commercial passenger flight in the latest aviation history in the process.
The flight that departed Heathrow London Airport around 6 am local time is part of the Qantas Sunrise Project ̵
is the second of three experimental trips undertaken by Qantas. The first flight from New York's JFK Airport to Sydney Airport took place in October.
This flight, approximately 16,000 kilometers, took just over 19 hours.
The route to London, although coming at a greater distance, should in fact be shorter, thanks to the prevailing queues and an optimized route that crosses the airspace of Russia, Kazakhstan and China.
A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner named "Longreach" is used for flights to London – code QF7879 – but despite its potential passenger capacity of up to 300, it only carries about 50 people, including four pilots led by Captain Helen Coach.
Brass with body clocks
Qantas captain Helen Trainers and First Officer Ryan Jill demonstrate the monitors they will wear during the flight.
Qantas  A lighter load is needed to ensure that the airplane can complete the record trip without refueling. In fact, a brand new aircraft will carry less than full refueling and should arrive at about 90 minutes worth.
Among those on board will be Qantas staff and frequent flyers, which will be equipped with monitors to track sleep patterns, movement, food consumption and use of in-flight entertainment.
The data is being collected by researchers at the Charles Perkins Center – Medical Research Unit at the University of Sydney – who will study how ultra-long-distance flying hassles with health, well-being and body clocks.
A team from the University of Monarch in Melbourne also participates to analyze how pilots and crew are affected. They will be monitored before, after, and during the flight for melatonin levels, the hormone that affects sleep cycles.
There will also be a handful of journalists on board, including CNN's Richard Quest.
The flight data, which is ancillary to deliver a fresh aircraft from Seattle's Boeing plant to Qantas's home base, will be used by the airline to assist Australian authorities in granting permanent authorization for the service.
"These are test flights to show the regulator and to make sure Qantas is convinced that we can execute them safely," said Airline CEO Alan Joyce on the eve of the flight.
"The non-stop flight from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is really the last frontier in aviation, so we are determined to do all the basics to achieve this."
The next generation of super-efficient jet propellants will be able to complete the journey with a wider list of passengers – though one will lean more toward first- and business-class customers.
The carrier challenged both Boeing and Airbus to deliver the aircraft it would need in 2022 – with the Boeing 777X-9 and Airbus A350-1000 both in the frame.
 Service tests come at a significant time for aviation with increasing pressure on carriers to reduce carbon emissions, prompting an increasing number of passengers to reduce aircraft use.
Earlier this week, Qantas announced its commitment to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Executive Director Joyce said he would achieve this through the use of new – yet inaccessible – aircraft, aviation technology and fuels.  Captain Coaches said that crossing a route not commonly used by Qantas is one of the most difficult elements that her team will encounter during her last trip.
"The biggest challenge will be flying through unfamiliar airspace, with language difficulties."
It must be much easier than the last time Qantas tried to fly in 1989. Then the airline uses a Boeing 747 stripped of most of his interior furnishings and loaded to the brim with special aviation fuel to make the trip. It only carried 23 people and had to tow to the track to save every ounce of gas.
The modern iteration of flight should be the reason for another celebration when it lands shortly before noon on Friday in Sydney. It will be the eve of Qantas 99th birthday and hundreds of airlines are expected to be at the airport to greet the plane.