The AN-124-100 ‘Ruslan’ is the only aircraft capable of carrying the outsized cargo
Volga-Dnepr has successfully transported a 32-metre-long Atlas 5 rocket booster from Huntsville, Alabama to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a scheduled mission to Mars.
The AN-124-100 ‘Ruslan’, is the only aircraft large enough to carry the Atlas 5. 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 Center for post-shipment checks.
The high profile delivery signaled the start of a new phase of launch preparations for the Perseverance Rover, the centerpiece of NASA’s $2.5 billion Mars 2020 mission.
The launch is scheduled at 9:10 a.m. on July 17.