Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Space Age Logistics as Project Freight Forwarding Job Takes to the Skies

Intercontinental Movement Only the First Leg for Satellites
Shipping News Feature
FRANCE – FRENCH GUIANA – Who among the paid up members of the freight and logistics community can deny that it is the big forwarding projects which engender a frisson of excitement when one stands and sees unfeasibly large pieces of cargo loaded aboard a heavy lift ship using specialist tackle, or into the largest freighter aircraft which look as though any chance of rising from the runway would be against the laws of nature?

When the cargo in question is literally a space age consignment the adrenalin levels are liable to rise even further, certainly when compared to the average shipment and when you combine one of Volga-Dnepr Airlines giant An-124-100 aircraft with half a dozen specialist satellites weighing in at around 30 tonnes, one can consider all relevant boxes ticked.

The Russian carrier is of course no stranger to this particular branch of modern industry. In 2018, the company performed more than 55 flights carrying satellites and related equipment, contributing to the burgeoning development of space technology.

After being packed into two special containers and leaving from the manufacturing facility in Toulouse, France, the latest six satellites were loaded aboard the freighter on behalf of Volga-Dnepr’s partner, Bolloré Logistics headed for the OneWeb constellation project destined for Cayenne in French Guiana.

The airline’s specialists organised the most effective transportation with a direct charter flight ensuring a timely delivery, as well as ensuring all six satellites were shipped with the utmost care to South America. On arrival in French Guiana, OneWeb’s sophisticated equipment was delivered to its final point of destination in Kourou, with the first satellite launch scheduled for the middle of February. The satellites are destined to operate in near-polar, 1,200 kilometre low Earth orbit. Axel Kaldschmidt, Global Director Aerospace of Volga-Dnepr Group, observed:

“As an air cargo operator, we understand all too well how important stable internet access is, with customers relying on real-time cargo shipment data, airline specialists communicating through internet systems to guarantee cost-effective and timely deliveries, and innovative technologies being facilitated through the development of internet solutions. We are, therefore, especially honored to be part of the OneWeb constellation project, which will enhance the quality of life for customers globally.”

Photo: The Satellites inside the An-124-100's cargo hold.