Latest news from Heavy Lift & Project Forwarding International Magazine

Piggyback lift for Mammoet

August 20 - Mammoet has lifted the 122 ft (37 m) long space shuttle replica Independence and positioned it on top of the original Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft at the NASA Space Center Houston.

Mammoet used a 250 ft (76 m) tall crane, which was assembled at the site a week in advance, to lift the replica to a height of 150 ft (45.7 m), before lowering it onto the back of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

"The lift was challenging because of the awkward weight distribution of the replica and the safety concerns for the thousands of spectators", said Pierre Mille, Mammoet's USA sales manager.

"A space shuttle, even a replica, is designed to go straight, so it catches a lot of wind when lifted sideways. But we engineered the lift carefully and were well prepared for this effect."

Back in April, Agility Project Logistics planned and managed the transport of the dismantled original Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft by road from Ellington Field to Space Center Houston.

The dismantling of the craft created seven loads to be transported to Space Center Houston, of which the largest load was the 57.9 m long main fuselage.

Four of the cargoes were loaded onto hydraulic trailers, including the two wings, the fuselage and the main vertical stabiliser, while the rest of the parts were placed on standard trailers.

The entire convoy of trailers, which was around 305 m long, then began the 12.9 km journey from a far corner of Ellington Field to the Space Center Houston. The transport required a section of the airfield fence to be cut out and the highway to be closed for certain periods of time.

The aircraft was then reassembled by Boeing's Aircraft-on-Ground (AOG) team and opened for public display.

The lifting of the space shuttle replica was also open to the public, in a free event dubbed "Rise of Independence".

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