Emirates SkyCargo transports first space satellite to South Korea
February 15, 2018: Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates recently transported ‘KhalifaSat’ — a remote sensing satellite to the Incheon International Airport in South Korea through its Boeing 777 freighter aircraft.
The freighter was specially chartered to ship the satellite.
The satellite was built by Emirati engineers at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), UAE.
According to Emirates, the satellite project was launched in 2013 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai. The project was aim at manufacturing its first space satellite on the UAE soil. The remote sensing satellite is expected to provide images of earth for practical application in a variety of industries.
“In the last few years, Emirates SkyCargo transported a wide variety of unusual cargo. However, transporting satellite manufactured in the UAE was a unique experience for us. We are delighted to bring our expertise of air transportation to the table in this historic and momentous occasion,” said Nabil Sultan, divisional senior vice president, cargo of Emirates.
“It has been a journey of nearly five years since the time Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre commenced its satellite manufacturing. We required a partner with expertise to transport ‘KhalifaSat’ from Dubai, without compromising its sensitive instrumentation and components. Emirates SkyCargo worked with us for three month to make sure that the entire transportation process went smoothly,” said Salem Al Marri, assistant director general for scientific and technical affairs of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.
Given the sensitivity of the shipment, a team of Emirates SkyCargo and MBRSC worked together since November 2017, to plan all the steps in the transportation of the satellite from Dubai to the Incheon Airport.
The satellite was first moved from MBRSC’s manufacturing facility in Dubai to the Emirates SkyCentral DWC freighter cargo terminal at the Dubai World Central Airport on a dedicated remotely monitored Emirates SkyCargo truck, which travelled on a geo-fenced route, with a police escort for its security.
A number of trial loading exercises were conducted by Emirates SkyCargo and MBRSC to ensure that the operation went smoothly during the actual transportation of the satellite.
The satellite was subsequently loaded through the wide main deck doors on the Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777 freighter aircraft. The cargo carrier’s team comprising cross-functional specialists and specialised loadmasters drew up an optimal loading plan on the aircraft for safe transportation of the satellite.
Additionally, a detailed planning was sketched by Emirates Skycargo to ensure availability of the aircraft and crew, besides obtained relevant permissions required to operate a chartered freighter flight to the Incheon International Airport.