Chabrillac Crosses the Ocean

With the transport requirement for the ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite from Saint Nazaire to French Giuana, Airbus Defence & Space appointed Chabrillac to manoeuvre the precious cargo.

Chabrillac Transports Aeolus Satellite

Scheduled to lift off on a Vega rocket on 21 August at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST) from Europe’s spaceport near Kourou, Aeolus carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit.

This pioneering mission uses powerful laser technology that probes the lowermost 30 km of our atmosphere to yield vertical profiles of the wind and information on aerosols and clouds.

Since the instrument is sensitive to pressure change, ESA and Airbus Defence and Space engineers decided that the safest way for it to journey from France, where it has been going through testing, to French Guiana would be by ship.

“Aeolus is too sensitive for the pressure applied during a landing” explains Salvator Didonna, Transport Manager for Airbus Defence & Space, a division of the European Space Agency, “as a part of the device could be damaged.”

To avoid such a risk, the satellite, insured up to 100M €, embarked on Friday 15th June on Ciudad de Cadiz, one of the five ro-ro-ships managed by shipowner Louis Dreyfus and chartered by the Airbus Group.

This boat usually transports plane parts between England, St Nazaire and Pauillac, southwestern France, with 75 annual rotations but never have we seen an aerospace device passing through Nantes St Nazaire harbour.

“We accompany Airbus with their high value-added shipments” explains Jean-Louis Cadoret, Logistics Manager. “We will control humidity on board, salinity and vessel accelerations for the satellite and its six containers.”

This innovative 1.33T satellite is the first device capable of observing wind speed profiles at a global scale with various altitudes. Its data will allow meteorologists to improve their weather forecasts and climatologists to understand better our atmosphere.

Forwarded to Montoir harbour by Chabrillac Transports from Toulouse, Aeolus won’t leave its trailer before reaching Kourou on June 28th. Where it will be propelled by the Vega launcher and launched into orbit.

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