Volga-Dnepr Airlines, the market leader of heavy and outsize air cargo transportations, together with its partner Bolloré Logistics, are supporting a milestone mission for the global aerospace industry with the delivery of the first European Space Module (ESM) for the historic space program which, in 2022, will take astronauts beyond low Earth orbit.
The 14-ton module, transported in a special container to maintain precise temperature and pressure conditions, as well as 10 tons of supporting equipment, were delivered onboard one of Volga-Dnepr’s Antonov 124-100 freighters from Bremen in Germany to Titusville, USA, in preparation for its 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 onboard 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!”