Satellite delivery

11 September 2018 by Sotiris Kanaris

ALE lifted and transported Argentine satellite, SAOCOM 1A, for CONAE, the country’s national space agency, ahead of its launch in a Space-X rocket.

ALE was contracted to transport the satellite, weighing 12t, from its fabrication yard in the city of Bariloche, in the foothills of the Andes, to the local aiport. Here, it was loaded into an Antonov plane, and flown to California ready to be launched at Vandenberg air field.

ALE worked with the most stringent risk management and quality control requirements throughout.

The transport operations required a complete shutdown of the 10km route, as well as civilian, police and military escorts at 4am. The heavy transport solution involved a convoy of over 12 vehicles, requiring four semi-trailers and two trailers to carry this challenging load. The cargo was delivered with minimum accelerations, controlled temperature and moisture conditions.

Cooperation with the airplane’s crew was critical to deliver on schedule and the Volga-Dnerp Antonov airplane was waiting on arrival.

The lifting operations were planned carefully in accordance with the client’s standards and ALE lifted the satellite onto the skidding system, where it was skidded into the airplane.

“Despite weighing just 12t, which is relatively low for the typical loads we move, there was a huge amount of pressure, both politically and economically, as the satellite is so high-profile,” said Raul Anriquez, ALE’s project manager. “The client was fully satisfied with our logistics solution and acknowledged our professionalism throughout the project. This is a huge milestone in the country´s space programme development and we are proud that ALE has successfully been part of it.”

Once the rocket is launched, ALE will then perform the heavy transport of ancillary equipment within the USA and perform the maritime transportation of remaining components back to Chile and overland to Argentina. It is expected to be launched in the Falcon X rocket, belonging to Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, by October 2018. SAOCOM 1A is one of two earth-observing satellites CONAE is supplying for the Italian-Argentine SIASGE constellation of six satellites, used to monitor natural disasters.