TanDEM-X will be swallowed by a crocodile
As our loyal readers already know, the TanDEM-X satellite is installed in the launcher’s upper stage and ready for transport. The Dnepr rocket is fuelled and waiting in the launch silo a few miles away. But how does the upper stage get to the launcher? Using a special vehicle, naturally.
It has a long cargo area with a hinged lid. The cargo carrier can be moved between the horizontal and vertical. A built-in crane lifts the launcher's upper stage into the transporter. Then, the vertically positioned cargo carrier is hydraulically lowered into the horizontal position. The upper stage then rests securely on a four-axle vehicle of quite some size. Due to its green colour, elongated shape and snout-like cab, it is called the 'Crocodile'.
I have, of course, taken many pictures. However, we have not received approval from Kosmotras for publication, so I can only refer you to other websites. For example, the procedure for CryoSat-2 was identical. More pictures (with German text).
We are allowed to show another crocodile – the mascot that gets excited every morning by the day’s work and is now waiting for a very, very big brother – with eight wheels.