Friday, October 28, 2016

AN-124 Heavy Lift Cargo Aircraft Delivers Super-Sized Freight Load Despite Hurricane

Volga Dnepr Giant Carries Huge Rocket Booster
Shipping News Feature
US – Volga-Dnepr has successfully delivered a huge 31 tonne Atlas V rocket booster to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) despite facing a hurricane and the possibility of having a valuable aircraft grounded for a week. Space launches are notoriously expensive and any delay in schedule can run into millions of dollars in additional costs. Therefore, when Hurricane Matthew swept across the Caribbean and into the continental US heavy lift experts Volga-Dnepr agreed to hold the payload inside the cargo hold of its An-124-100 freighter for up to a week if necessary until the storm passed, to ensure the cargo could still be delivered in time for the necessary preparations to be completed ahead of the planned launch date in November.

The rocket is going to launch the GOES-R spacecraft, a next-generation weather satellite that will be used to observe conditions over the US from geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth. The satellite will help meteorologists more accurately forecast weather patterns. Matthew Thear, Customer Service Manager of Volga-Dnepr said:

“We have a strong working relationship with United Launch Alliance and have been moving rocket hardware for them for nearly 20 years. Our crew, handling agents and the ULA team follow well-documented procedures and know exactly what to do to ensure a smooth and timely delivery. On this occasion, the extreme weather conditions interrupted our planned schedule but we were still able to complete the flight as soon as Cape Canaveral Air Force Station reopened after five days in support of the November launch schedule.”

Photo: The rocket booster unloads at Cape Canaveral.