Volga-Dnepr flies three satellites into French Guiana

16 / 03 / 2017

Volga-Dnepr Airlines, the cargo charter specialist within the Volga-Dnepr Group, has flown three satellites to the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

The AN-124-100 freighter flights were made in support of a long-standing deal with Bolloré Logistics and Thales Alenia Space.

The movement of these valuable but delicate shipments saw Volga-Dnepr use new lightweight, easier-to-stow aluminium extension ramps for the first time to load and unload the satellites.

The new ramps are lightweight and take up less space than similar equipment when stowed in the aircraft, allowing increased volume and payload capacity for cargo as and when required.

Plus, the containers in which the satellites are carried were “specially designed to utilise the unique capabilities of Volga-Dnepr’s AN-124-100”, the carrier said. They have been used many times before for similar movements carried out on behalf of Bolloré and Thales Alenia Space.

The first of this year’s flights carrying the three satellites saw Volga-Dnepr transport the Telkom 3S satellite to French Guiana.

The Telkom 3S was built for the Indonesian operator Telkom Indonesia. It was launched on February 14.

This shipment was followed by a 13-hour AN-124-100 freighter flight operated from Nice to Cayenne which carried Brazil’s SGDC satellite and South Korea’s Koreasat 7 telecommunications satellite, also built by Thales Alenia Space.

A dual launch is planned for March 21, with the satellites on-board the Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

Matthew Thear, customer service manager at Volga-Dnepr, commented: “Our long partnership with Bolloré Logistics and Thales Alenia Space means we have great experience and finely-tuned processes in place to move highly sensitive satellite technology.

“This includes minute-by-minute monitoring of temperature, pressure and vibration in flight.

“However, we are always looking for ways to advance the services we provide, and the latest development of the new loading equipment is further proof of that,” he declared.