This is also what brought the BelugaST to the U.S. this time. It delivered a satellite at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, in Florida. The Airbus-built HOTBIRD 13G satellite is part of the innovative “Eurostar Neo” family of telecommunication satellites, developed together with ESA (European Space Agency).
Only a few hours before this satellite was delivered, its twin, the HOTBIRD 13F, had been launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The 13G will also make its way in orbit a month from now.
A milestone in itself, this flight to the U.S. was also made special by the use of SAF (sustainable aviation fuel). According to Airbus, the Beluga flew from Toulouse, France, to Florida, powered by 30% SAF. This is just one of the many pioneering flights that Airbus has accomplished using varying ratios of green jet fuel on its way to eventually launching 100% SAF-powered operations.
Based on the A300-600 platform, the BelugaST is a 184-foot (56 meters) cargo aircraft with a 155-ton payload. Its distinctive design makes loading and unloading different types of cargo easier and the aircraft itself more versatile.
The Airbus Beluga Transport Service was inaugurated at the beginning of this year. This makes the BelugaST available for carrying unusually-large cargo in various parts of the world for different customers. A larger version, the BelugaXL, is also coming up.