MOSCOW, November 28 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s An-124-100 Ruslan freighter will take the third stage of Russia’s Soyuz-ST carrier rocket to the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, a spokesman for Polet Airlines, Leonid Shirobokov, told Itar-Tass on Monday.
“The air carrier’s freighters have repeatedly delivered foreign spaceships to the Kourou spaceport for the European Space Agency (ESA),” he said. “But the Ruslan freighter will take the Russian space equipment to French Guiana for the first time.”
Later in the day the third stage of the Soyuz-ST carrier rocket will be placed to a railroad freight car at the TsKB-Progress state research and production space centre in Samara. A shipping container and supporting equipment will be placed on a truck trailer.
The railway car and truck trailer will be sent from Samara to Ulyanovsk. On Wednesday this equipment will be taken to Ulyanovsk-Vostochny airfield.
The An-124-100 Ruslan freighter is expected to leave for French Guiana on December 1. On the same day it will make a stopover at Belgium’s airport for the crew to rest. On December 2 the freighter will land at Rochambeau Airport in French Guiana.
“Polet Airlines has already been the Russian federal space agency’s general air carrier for over ten years and accumulated sufficient experience of reliable and safe shipment of space cargoes abroad. All stages of the shipment have been technologically tested and worked out,” Shirobokov said.
“The air carrier fulfilled the similar operation in 2010 delivering to South Korea the Russia-designed first stage for the South Korean Naro-1 rocket,” he said.