To boldly go: Volga-Dnepr and Bolloré deliver module for space programme

Volga-Dnepr Airlines and forwarding partner Bolloré Logistics have delivered the first European Space Module (ESM) for a programme that will take astronauts beyond low Earth orbit in 2022.
The 14-ton module, transported in a special container to maintain precise temperature and pressure conditions, as well as 10 tons of supporting equipment, was flown on a Volga-Dnepr An124-100 freighter from Bremen in Germany to Titusville in the US.
The ESM is being prepared 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.
Konstantin Vekshin, executive president for cargo charter operations at Volga-Dnepr Airlines, said: “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.”
The first unmanned Orion mission is scheduled for 2020 and will take the spacecraft more than 64,000 km beyond the Moon. Two years later, the first human spaceflight will transport astronauts further into space than ever before as part of the programme to collect scientific data to develop the ability of humans to travel to Mars.
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