Antonov Airlines has flown a satellite in partnership with Kübler Spedition from Munich Airport to Cayenne Félix Eboué Airport, on behalf of German satellite manufacturer OHB System.
An AN-124-100 variant from the airline’s fleet was used to transport the satellite and related equipment, with a total payload of 70 tonnes.
In addition to the satellite inside its own climate-controlled transport container, ground support equipment for preparing the satellite for launch, and Antonov Airlines’ specialised loading equipment were also transported.
“Transporting this kind of sensitive aerospace equipment has a range of challenging and specialised requirements, and our engineers worked in partnership with Kübler Spedition and OHB to provide a seamless transition of cargo from the test facilities near Munich, to aircraft, to launch site,” said Martin Banns, commercial manager, Antonov Airlines, UK office.
“Having met with our customer during the planning stages of this transport, we developed a full understanding of their requirements and provided solutions that suited their specific needs.”
During the flight, Antonov data logger sensors were used to monitor pressure, temperature and humidity in the satellite container.
An Antonov technician downloaded this data immediately on arrival at both intermediate and final destination stops, to provide real time data back to Kübler and OHB.
“As soon as we had any questions, we immediately got answers from Antonov Airlines,” said Thomas Hoffmann, business development and worldwide logistics coordinator, Kübler Spedition.
“The flight crew and loadmaster were all very helpful and they knew exactly what to do to get the job done in excellent time, and I look forward to working with Antonov Airlines on future projects.”
The satellite, called EDRS-C, is set for launch into geostationary orbit on 6 August 2019, and will receive observation data from low Earth orbiting satellites in the European Space Agency (ESA)’s network, and relay it to ground stations.
EDRS-C, will become the second node of the Space Data Highway (EDRS) that is being realised in a public-private partnership between Airbus Defence and Space and ESA.
Earlier this year Antonov Airlines transported the second in a series of three satellites for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and a third is scheduled later in 2019.