June 7 - IAG Cargo, in conjunction with UK-based forwarder, Pinnacle International Freight, has transported the Mid Infra Red Instrument (MIRI) - a key component of the James Webb Space Telescope - from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK to NASA

The instrument - an infrared camera and spectrometer - was transported in a B747 aircraft from IAG Cargo's hub at London Heathrow to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. The instrument has been in development and production for 15 years and is extremely sensitive, requiring it to be handled with extreme care. Additional measures, including temperature and environmental controls and monitoring, were also put in place to ensure a safe transit.

The 850 kg total load was transported by IAG Cargo through British Airways' Constant Climate precision time and temperature offering, in an Envirotainer to ensure maximum protection and temperature control throughout the journey.

A specialist team from IAG Cargo were also on hand to ensure the temperature controls and monitoring were in place.

"I am delighted that the instrument has now safely arrived at NASA following its BA flight - the completion of an instrument such as this is a major achievement for the whole team in the UK, Europe and the USA and the delivery is a major milestone for NASA that brings scientific discoveries with JWST a big step closer" said Prof Gillian Wright, the European principal investigator for the instrument.

The instrument has been designed and engineered by a European consortium of science institutes and industry in partnership with JPL and is one of only four flight instruments for the James Webb Telescope. It recently completed an exhaustive set of performance tests at STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, from where it was transported to Heathrow.

The James Webb Telescope - regarded as the successor to the Hubble Telescope - is planned to launch into space in 2018.