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A Lockheed Satellite goes to launch via the "Russian" Antonov AN 124

November 18, 2000 - A communication satellite built at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, CA. is loaded onto a giant "Russian" Antonov AN 124 cargo plane to be transported French Guiana for launching.
My son (also Edward - pictured below) had spent some months environmentally testing ("shake and bake") the space craft.

For information about the Antonov AN 124 click here.
(added March 2014) For GREAT pictures of the Antonov AN 125 click here. - thanks LaFarr

Each clickable image below will display a larger (50 K byte) image.

First we look over the aircraft

Crew member checks front tires

Edward standing by main landing gear

Runway maintenance
Main landing gear bearings

And a crew member checks an engine.
He said that the engines were rated at 50,000 pounds of thrust each - not bad when the aircraft was designed and constructed. (The latest engine approved for the Boeing 777 has a rated thrust of 95,000 pounds.)

Crew member opening engine

"Open wide"


Closer view

There were some containers of launch support equipment.

The first was a big one

Is that BIG container going to fit into that little airplane?

Look, the aircraft has a crane!

The aircraft's crane starting to lift and pull.

And a pair of smaller containers of support equipment.

First of a pair.
This ought to be easy!

A close up

And the second.

End view.

Lots of room.

Some shots of the interior.

Crane details

Crane operator

Ladder to crew quarters. (They had sleeping bags.)

And last, but not least, the space craft container

Space craft container arriving

Space craft container (side view)

Space craft container continuing to aircraft

Loading the space craft container onto the Antonov

Lining up the space craft container

Ready to lift and pull

Get the "low-boy" carrier out of the way

and now to tie it down.

The Antonov took off the next morning. It landed in Oregon then to French Guiana for launching. Several Lockheed people flew on the plane with the space-craft.

for comments or suggestions, e-mail Ed Thelen