Bolloré Logistics Nice has operated three An-124-100 cargo flights for the ExoMars space exploration programme that aims to discover any traces of Life on Mars.
The flights, which operated on December 18, 20 and 22 for consignor, Thales Alenia Space Italia, departed from Turin in Italy to Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome via Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
Volga-Dnepr’s cargo included the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstration module (EDM) as well as the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) which will be launched into space in the first mission in March 2016. In total, Bolloré Logistics Nice transported 20 x 20-foot containers, including two ‘hi-cube’ containers with materials for the ExoMars project launch campaign, loose cargo and a satellite container.
ExoMars is a joint programme between the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. The 2016 mission will reach Mars in October and aims to demonstrate Europe’s ability to land a probe on the Red Planet. Meanwhile, the Orbiter will help to determine the landing site for the second mission in 2018 when the descent module will place a rover on Mars to drill down two metres into the Martian soil to take samples and perhaps discover any traces of life. The data captured by the probe is expected to feed the work of researchers for many years to come as they analyse the soil’s chemical, physical and biological properties.