Airbus has shipped a geostationary communications satellite to Florida on board one of its A300-600ST Belugas, the type being offered for outsize freight transport after previously being used for internal logistics.

The Eutelsat 36D spacecraft was carried on board F-GSTF which departed Toulouse on 9 March.

It flew the payload to Terceira, an island in the Azores, then onwards to St John’s in eastern Canada and Portsmouth in New Hampshire, before arriving at Orlando Sanford airport on 11 March.

The satellite is to be taken to the Kennedy Space Center from where it will be taken into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Eutelsat 36D will provide TV broadcasting and government services over regions including Eurasia and Africa, and will be the fourth of the Airbus Eurostar Neo satellite family in orbit.

Satellite loading A300-600ST-c-Airbus

Source: Airbus

Airbus is offering its A300-600STs to customers seeking to ship outsize payloads

Airbus has newly-established an outsize freight carrier, Airbus Beluga Transport, which formally obtained its air operator’s certificate from French regulators in November last year.

But the airframer has previously twice used A300-600STs to carry Airbus geostationary satellites to Florida.

These satellites comprised the Hotbird 13G in October 2022 and the Inmarsat 6-F2 in January last year.

Airbus Beluga Transport recently obtained clearance to operate US routes. The airframer says the A300-600ST provides an “autonomous European solution” and demonstrates “pan-Airbus synergies”.