An Antonov An-124 Ruslan strategic airlift aircraft belonging to the Ukrainian-based Antonov Airlines company has delivered a JUPITER 3 satellite from the Maxar manufacturing facility in Palo Alto (California, United States) to the Cape Canaveral launch center (Florida).

The Hughes telecommunications company, which owns the 9-ton satellite, announced this in a statement, the CFTS portal reports.

"When you are trying to transport a 9 metric ton geostationary satellite from Maxar’s manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, California, to the launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida, your options are limited. There really are only two choices: by truck, which takes about a month and requires complex logistics and a variety of road permits, or by plane. And not just any old commercial airplane, but an Antonov-124, a massive vehicle that specializes in transporting bulky, oversized cargo… This model of plane is unique because of the distinct hatch that enables the nose of the plane to hinge upward for loading and unloading oversized cargo," Hughes said in a statement.

According to the statement, a crane aboard a 12-axle flat-bed truck hauled the satellite from the manufacturing facility to an airport just a few miles away in Mountain View (California), where it was loaded onto the awaiting Antonov plane. A special ramp was built to convey the special container in which the satellite was enclosed from the truck to the cargo hold of the Antonov. Once the container was safely aboard, the crew dismantled the ramp and loaded it into the hold to be used again to unload the satellite container at its destination. 

According to the statement, JUPITER 3 is a next-generation Ultra High-Density Satellite (UHDS) that will double the capacity of the Hughes telecommunications company’s JUPITER satellite fleet. Once launched, the powerful communications satellite will support in-flight Wi-Fi, maritime connections, enterprise networks, backhaul for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), and Community Wi-Fi solutions in addition to satellite internet connectivity across North and South America. 

As the CFTS portal reported previously, an Antonov An-124 Ruslan strategic airlift aircraft transported a satellite built by Maxar from Palo Alto to the Kennedy Space Center (Florida) in March. This satellite will also provide Intelsat customers across North and Central America with flexible, high-throughput coast-to-coast coverage. In addition, the satellite’s hosted pollution-monitoring NASA payload—a Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument—will detect pollutants across North America, with the resulting data used to enhance air-quality forecasts.