The time has arrived, LPF is ready to head off on her last journey on Earth. Off accross the big blue pond (more commonly known as the Atlantic) bound for the Launch site in Kourou, French Guiana.
All aboard the Antonov AN-124. Two long days of loading up the Spacecraft and her entourage of equipment. The 8 passengers flying along with her, mostly volunteers (mostly!) are all aboard and settling in for the 13 hour journey.
The aircraft, one of the largest in the world has a 36.5m x 6.4m x 4m (LxWxH) internal cargo bay and is capable of transported up to 120tonnes of cargo! The cargo has been loaded using the 4 point on board crane of the aircraft.
The crew comprises a two sets of 6 man flight crew (2 pilots, 2 flight engineers, 1 radio operator and 1 navigator). Then theres the 8 man technial crew, each responsible for a particular system on the aircraft during the flight from avionics to hydraulics and of course the loading and unloading of cargo.
With everyone on board and setled in nicely for the ride ahead, we waved cherio to London Stanstead around 21:00 and climbed into the darkness bound south for Santa Maria in the Azores where we would make a brief stop to refuel before crossing the ocean and 4 time zones to arive in Cayenne, French Guiana.