The move required careful measurements from ANTONOV Airlines before, and cautious movements when moving Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) GSAT-31 satellite from HAL Bengaluru Airport, India, to Cayenne Félix Eboué Airport, French Guiana. This was the second in a series of three flights that Flywell Aviation has contracted ANTONOV Airlines to operate, on behalf of ISRO. The first satellite in the series, the GSAT-11, was transported by ANTONOV Airlines on the same route in October 2018, and the final satellite is set to be delivered later this year.
ANTONOV Airlines coordinated closely with Flywell Aviation to meet all of ISRO’s requirements to transport the satellite that weighed a total of 18,000 kg including its specialized container, which measured L 7.80 m x W 4.54 m x H 4.03 m. An ANTONOV AN-124-100 transported the satellite.
ANTONOV Airlines also provided specialized support for aerospace cargo from its office in Houston, Texas, last month flying a satellite from Moffett Federal Airfield, California to Cayenne Félix Eboué Airport for a twinned launch with the GSAT-31.
Michael Goodisman, Business Development Director, ANTONOV Airlines said that they they worked with the customer to ensure that this sensitive equipment was loaded and transported safely. The ANTONOV crew maintained acceptable temperatures and pressures while the aircraft was airborne, as well as during refueling stops.
Together with Flywell Aviation, their engineers used data-loggers to record g-forces, pressures, and temperatures so that ISRO could inspect the data post-flight and give a green light to launch the GSAT-31 satellite.”
Anil Bal, Managing Director of Flywell Aviation added that ANTONOV Airlines worked closely with them to ensure all necessary precautions were in place for the movement of this sensitive satellite cargo, and they are very satisfied with the service level provided.
The GSAT-31 was launched earlier this month from the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana on an Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle.