Less than a week after the unmanned SpaceX transported 460 kilograms of freight to the International Space Station, IAG Cargo completed a NASA-sanctioned mission. The carrier transported the Mid Infra Red Instrument, an integral part of the James Webb Space Telescope, from British Airways World Cargo’s hub at London Heathrow Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport on a Boeing 747 aircraft.
The instrument, dubbed “MIRI,” consists of an infrared camera and a spectrometer and has been in development for 15 years, according to a press release. It’s also extremely sensitive, mandating special handling requirements and temperate controls.
The IAG Cargo team called upon British Airways’ Constant Climate precision time and temperature product to meet these needs, enclosing MIRI in an Envirotainer. Specialists were also onboard the BA World Cargo flight to ensure that the temperature control and monitoring protocols were met, IAG Cargo explained in the press release.
Alan Dorling, head of pharmaceuticals and life sciences at IAG Cargo, said the entire flight went off without a hitch and marked a significant achievement for the European carrier. “It was an honor to be a part of the supply chain and an endorsement of our Constant Climate product quality standards, which ensured the European-made component was delivered safely to NASA on its way to becoming a part of the historic James Webb telescope.”
The James Webb Telescope is slated to launch into space in 2018.