Saturday, February 23, 2013

We Have Seen the Future (and it’s Aboard a Cargo Freighter landing at NASA)

Cargolux Ships Solar Impulse Craft as Sun Also Shines on Schenker
Shipping News Feature

LUXEMBOURG – SWITZERLAND – US – NETHERLANDS – Mores news recently from Cargolux, as Europe’s largest freight only airline operated a Boeing 747 freighter out of the Swiss military airfield of Payerne, carrying the solar-powered prototype aircraft HB-SIA, created by the Solar Impulse project, to the United States. HB- SIA will be deployed for its ‘Across America’ mission on a coast-to-coast flight from San Francisco to Washington D.C. and New York City, including 3-4 stopovers on the way.

With Payerne airfield’s short runway and lack of parking area for large aircraft, operating a Boeing 747 freighter was a particular challenge. Cargolux mastered the operation safely, carrying a limited amount of fuel to reduce landing and take-off weight, and having to park the aircraft on the runway during the loading process. After only 5 hours 15 minutes, the Cargolux flight lifted off from Payerne early Thursday morning and returned to Luxembourg for a refuelling stop, before flying its precious cargo to the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Airfield in the US, from where Solar Impulse will start its mission.

Solar Impulse is the world’s most ambitious solar-powered aircraft project not designed to carry people, but to carry messages and promoting technological innovation and renewable energy. It has already achieved five world records, including the record for the longest day and night solar-powered flight at 26 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds. With 63.4 metres, the aircraft has a similar wingspan to Cargolux’s Boeing 747, and its loading onto the freighter aircraft was only possible thanks to the characteristic nose cargo door of the Boeing freighter.

In other solar power related news, SolarEdge, a provider of solar power optimisation solutions for residential, commercial and large-scale photovoltaic system installations, has nominated DB Schenker Logistics in the Netherlands to be their Logistics Service Provider in Europe.

DB Schenker has implemented and is now running a dedicated logistics solution for SolarEdge including the operation of a European Distribution Centre in Beringe in the Netherlands as well as the distribution of products to SolarEdge retailers and installers throughout the continent.

Together with Israeli partner Orian, DB Schenker has been transporting SolarEdge’s inbound and outbound shipments to and from Israel since July 2010, as well as managing the freight shipments from Europe and China to the US.

Photo: The Solar Impulse slips inside the 747. For more stunning shots of this project click HERE.