CORONA, Calif. – NASA’s Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) arrived safely Monday, March 3, at the Astrotech payload processing facility near the Kennedy Space Center to begin the final preparations for its launch into space. The successful transportation was handled by VIP Transport of Corona, Calif., a Mayflower Transit agent known for its expertise in transporting complicated and high-value goods.
Having a gross weight of more than 84,000 lbs., the transportation of GLAST involved months of planning, testing and preparation by the Specialized Transportation Services team at VIP, NASA and General Dynamics (the builder of the spacecraft by NASA). The requirements for transportation of the satellite, which is valued at more than $500 million, included having continuous movement, dual driver teams, two teams of escorts and wide load permits for each state the load traveled through. The total for the satellite and all project requirements is valued at $1 billion.
“Every precaution was taken transporting GLAST; we utilized one of our generator vans so that NASA’s monitoring system could be plugged in to the van to record any shock vibration,” said Dan Griffiths, CEO of VIP Transport, Inc.
In addition to the wide load transportation of GLAST, VIP provided two climate-control vans to transport the additional sensitive equipment needed for the launch.
GLAST is a collaborative mission with the U.S. Department of Energy, international partners from France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Sweden, and numerous academic institutions from the United States and abroad. The spacecraft will explore the most extreme environments in the universe and answer questions about the super massive black hole systems. Liftoff for GLAST is currently scheduled aboard a Delta II Rocket on May 16.
Due to testing required, there were four phases involved for the transportation of GLAST, which began planning in August 2007. GLAST was transported from NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland to General Dynamics in Arizona. From there it was transported to National Research Lab in Washington, D.C., with its final destination at Astrotech payload processing facility in Florida.
“We are very proud to have this continued relationship with NASA,” said Dan Griffiths, “It is a great accomplishment to have earned their trust over the years to transport these priceless satellites. Our team at VIP, including our driver, and the team at NASA do an outstanding job to ensure a flawless delivery.”
”As usual, VIP Transport directly contributed to the successful movement of the GLAST spacecraft from Washington, D.C., to the launch facility in Titusville, Fla.,”
said Jean Manall, Transportation Project Support Manager of Goddard Space Center.
“Not only did they provide the most professional and knowledgeable driver, but also provided direct support with hauling permits through out every state. The cooperation and flexibility of VIP made this one of the smoothest operations we have ever had. On May 16 when the GLAST spacecraft launches into orbit, we know that VIP made it possible.”
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