Monday, November 12, 2018

Deep Space Means Another Mode for Freight and Logistics Groups on the Horizon

Essential Equipment to Provide Water and Air Ships Out
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – US – Logistics stories have always covered an expanding range of multimodal transport systems, road, rail, sea then air and even pipeline. Of late however we find there are ever more tales of payloads heading far beyond the earth, fuelled in part by the plethora of private space venture initiatives which have appeared in recent years. Most of the news is about getting the hardware to a point it can be sent into orbit, but in the future more will concern the payloads final delivery points beyond the earth's atmosphere.

We have covered such cases of consignments being delivered late to a customer out there in the void, but this week comes the more common type of piece from heavy lift and outsize air cargo specialist Volga-Dnepr Airlines, which, in partnership with freight forwarding outfit Bolloré Logistics, has delivered an historic shipment which will soon be heading out into the vacuum of space accompanied by a human crew.

The Russian headquartered group was charged with the delivery of the first European Service Module (ESM) for the historic space programme which, in 2022, will take astronauts beyond low Earth orbit. The 14 tonne module, transported in a special container to maintain precise temperature and pressure conditions, as well as 10 tonnes of supporting equipment, were delivered by one of Volga-Dnepr’s Antonov 124-100 freighters from Bremen in Germany to Titusville, USA.

The shipment was in preparation for installation on the next-generation Orion spacecraft and testing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The module provides the spacecraft with propulsion, power, water and oxygen supplies as well as thermal control. The first unmanned Orion mission is scheduled for 2020 and will take the spacecraft more than 64,000 kilometres beyond the Moon. Two years later, the first human spaceflight will transport astronauts further into space than ever before as part of the program to collect scientific data to develop the ability of humans to travel to Mars. Konstantin Vekshin, Executive President for Cargo Charter Operations at Volga-Dnepr Airlines, commented:

“It is an honour for us to be supporting such a significant and historic endeavour. Providing specialist transportation for the aerospace industry is one of Volga-Dnepr Airlines’ key areas of expertise and every year we operate more than 50 flights carrying various space cargoes, including satellites, parts of spacecraft, rockets and boosters.

The unique capabilities of our Antonov 124-100 and Ilyushin 76TD-90VD freighters, with their ramp loading capabilities and on board crane systems, combined with our three decades of experience, enables our team of experts to provide safe, secure, time-saving and cost-efficient solutions for deliveries of such important and sensitive cargoes. We wish this unique, history-changing space mission every success!”