The convoy was initially transported by truck from IABG (Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH) in Ottobrunn to Munich airport, where it was stored in a hangar over night before being loaded onto an Antonov-124 cargo aircraft for the three and a half hour flight to Talagi Airport, Archangel in Russia.
The spacecraft, however, did not travel alone it was accompanied by a whole host of vital support equipment resulting in the shipment weighing in at around 60 tonnes and valuing some 80 million euros. The CryoSat satellite was packed in its own nitrogen-pressurized container, while nine other containers housed items such as racks of electrical equipment to operate and test the spacecraft, and heavy mechanical equipment to lift and turn the satellite allowing engineers to gain overall access to the structure in the Integration Facility at the launch site.
An advance team was already in Archangel, and after they had ensured that everything was in order to receive the cargo on arrival, they gave the go-ahead for the flight from Munich to take-off. After a safe landing in Archangel in the evening of 30 August, the convoy was transported by truck to the local train station where it was lifted onto railcars. For reasons of safety and security the special train made its journey through the night, arriving in Plesetsk on 1 September. So that the cargo wasn't at risk of being damaged the train had to travel extremely slowly. It therefore took most of the night to cover the 200 km journey southward to CryoSat's final destination.
CryoSat's safe arrival in Plesetsk marks an important milestone in the project. The shipment was carried out with relative ease. Guy Ratier, CryoSat Project Manager commented, "Everything went accordi
Contact: Guy Ratier
European Space Agency