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Russia's giant AN-124 flies 32-metre booster for NASA launch

RUSSIA's Volga-Dnepr AN-124-100 Ruslan has delivered the first stage of United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket for NASA's next Mars rover mission, reports the American Journal of Transportation

17 June 2020 - 19:06

RUSSIA's Volga-Dnepr AN-124-100 Ruslan has delivered the first stage of United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket for NASA's next Mars rover mission, reports the American Journal of Transportation.

The Ruslan is the only aircraft large enough to carry the Atlas 5, and flew the 32-metre long rocket booster, from Huntsville, Alabama to its final launch location.



In addition to the over-length piece, Volga-Dnepr also transported payload fairings and RD-180 engines for the special mission.



After unloading the unique cargo piece from the aircraft, ULA moved the rocket into the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Centre for post-shipment checks.



The high profile delivery signalled the start of a new phase of launch preparations for the Perseverance Rover, the centrepiece of NASA's US$2.5 billion Mars 2020 mission. The launch is scheduled at 9:10 a.m. on July 17.


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