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Special transport

Transport of radio telescope antennas from France to Chile

The alma space observatory, located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, is a project run by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Alma is the highest performing instrument in the world for observing molecular clouds in which stars are formed that can only be observed in millimetric and sub-millimetric waves. The radio telescope comprises 66 antennas (54 with a 12m diameter and 12 with a 7m diameter) each weighing about one hundred tonnes.

The antennas were manufactured in France and delivered in several units or half-dishes that had to be transported to South America without encountering any issues that might damage them. Socitec helped size and supply suspensions positioned on the lorries, and monitored any shocks and vibration during transport.

The company’s mission was to verify that installation was in conformity and to carry out measurements during the entire journey, from France to Chile , based on a modeling of lorries, their load and rolling.

Every kilometer covered was monitored by the team of engineers seconded to the mission. They worked with the drivers to control the speed right up until the base camp, located at an altitude of 3500m, with a final 13 kilometer stretch  over a potholed track.

Vibration measures on the Soyouz transportation platform

Socitec was involved in sizing and qualifying the trailer used to transport the Fregat stage of the Soyuz launcher operated at the French Guiana Space Centre. The Fregat’s payloads are integrated into a building several kilometers from the Soyuz firing point. During transportation, it was important not to exceed very low critical levels of QSL ( quasi static loads).

SYMOS calculations were used for the dynamic sizing of the trailer by calculating the QSL. For the qualification phase, Socitec made vibration measures of the trailer during Fregat’s journey from the integration building to the firing point. This measurement campaign made it possible to validate the trailer’s performance and the speed to be respected during transportation to avoid exceeding the required acceleration thresholds.


Protection for airframes during transportation between factories

Transportation of the airframes of aeronautical apparatus requires specific measures. The fragile nature of the parts used in multimodal transport (by road and sea) involves defining tailored solutions to protect equipment against shocks and vibrations encountered during journeys between manufacturing and assembly sites.

Socitec was involved in calculating the definition of the limit to avoid threatening the intactness of the airframe during transport. Wire cable isolators were developed and integrated between the airframe and the trailer. isolation solutions weighing 2 to 3 tonnes each were installed to filter the vibrations generated by rolling and movement. Their stainless-steel composition resolved oxidation issues resulting from maritime transportation and salt water.

The cable isolators also ensure a life span of over 20 years and require no maintenance.