Out of this world operation for Volga-Dnepr

By Damian Brett

A Volga-Dnepr An-124 transports the Atlas 5 rocket

Volga-Dnepr has transported an Atlas 5 rocket booster to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a scheduled mission to Mars.

The An-124-100 ‘Ruslan’ flew the 32-meter long rocket booster from Huntsville, Alabama, to its final launch location on May 18.

In addition to the over-length piece, Volga-Dnepr also transported payload fairings and RD-180 engines for the special mission.

After unloading the cargo, launch service provider United Launch Alliance moved the rocket into the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center for post-shipment checks.

The high profile delivery signaled the start of a new phase of launch preparations for the Perseverance Rover, the centerpiece of NASA’s $2.5bn Mars 2020 mission.

The launch is scheduled at 9:10am on July 17.

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