Air Freight News

Antonov Airlines transports Maxar-built satellite launched by SpaceX 

May 18, 2023

Antonov Airlines performed a transportation of an Intelsat commercial satellite on board of one of its AN-124-100M aircraft from Moffet Federal Airfield, Mountain View, California, USA, to NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Titusville, Florida, USA, for a launch by the US aerospace company SpaceX.

The cargo with total weight of more than 55,000 kilograms consisted of 8 pieces, including Intelsat 40e (IS-40e) satellite and its hosted payload in a container measuring 1280 cm in length, 488 cm in width, and 419 cm in height, along with associated parts and support equipment. To оnload and offload cargo, a special Antonov-made ramp system was used in conjunction with onboard winches and cranes as well as external cranes.

“Due to the nature of the cargo, AN-124-100 is the only aircraft available that can haul the size and weight (approx. 36,000 kg) of the spacecraft shipping container. In addition, the AN-124-100 does not require special ground support equipment to load and unload the cargo,” said Virginia Lloyd, Maxar’s director of Global Logistics and Warehouse Management.

Intelsat IS-40e will provide focused coverage over North America for commercial aviation, maritime, land mobility and networks customers, and its hosted payload, a NASA instrument called Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO), will observe air pollution across North America.

“The satellite was assembled and tested at Maxar and then delivered to the Cape Canaveral launch site. Customers needed sufficient processing lead time for the scheduled launch by a Falcon 9 rocket. Thus, surface transportation was not a viable option to meet the launch schedule. Therefore, air transportation by AN-124-100M was the best option to deliver this high-value satellite on time,” said Iryna Kyianytsia, Commercial Executive, Antonov Airlines.

The Maxar-built IS-40e satellite and TEMPO launched aboard SpaceX`s Falcon-9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on April 7, 2023.

“We thank our customer for their trust to ANTONOV Airlines to perform this important mission. Antonov`s team is ready for further operations around the world and guarantee smooth transportation for valued cargoes,” added Iryna Kyianytsia, Commercial Executive, Antonov Airlines.

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