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C-5C Galaxy
C-5C Space Cargo Modified (SCM) Galaxy

The C-5C is a Space Cargo Modified (SCM) C-5 Galaxy, specially modified to carry satellites and other large cargo. It is the only modified version of the C-5 that provides special airlift support for satellites. With the troop compartment removed and modification to their rear loading doors, the C-5C aircraft have a larger cargo area than other C-5s. There are two places to plug in external power, one for aircraft power and one to provide power for the payload canister.

Spacecraft, such as a node for the International Space Station, are transported in a special canister, call the Space Container Transportation System (SCTS), which was built to fit into a military airplane, specifically a specially modified C-5C. The C-5C is the only aircraft that this canister will fit into, and it takes almost the entire cargo space. If a mechanical problem arises with one C-5C making it unusable, there is only one additional specially modified C-5C to use. The C-5C carrying the SCTS frequently arrives late at night, with offload immediately after arrival. Offload from the C-5C is an operation that can take about six hours to complete. The clearance between the SCTS canister and the walls/ceiling of the plane is about one inch. Moving the canister requires very slow, precise movements; basically it is inched out of the cargo bay.

The 2 aircraft were converted to the C-5C configuration in the late 1980s. According to some reports, aircraft serial number 68-0216 was chosen for the SCM modification after it had landed with the nose gear up, and was therefore in need of refurbishment in any event. The the aircraft serial number 68-0213 was supposedly selected after a fire in the troop compartment during depot maintenance. The aircraft were modified in 1988 and were subsequently assigned to the 433rd Air Wing until all tests and one mission was completed. This first mission was flying the Hubble telescope from California to Florida. These 2 aircraft were used in support of Operation Desert Storm. They were subsequently assigned to the 60th Airlift Wing at Travis Air Force Base. Travis did not take over 213 and 216 until mid 1994.

In June 1997, the first US-manufactured element of the International Space Station, a component called Node 1, was shipped from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to the launch site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shipping containers carrying Node 1 and its ground support equipment departed the Redstone Arsenal Army Airfield in Huntsville via 2 Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft, one a C-5B, and the other a C-5C.

In April 1999, at Cape Canaveral Air Station, a Lockheed Martin crew offloaded an Atlas IIA rocket from a US Air Force C-5C Galaxy. The rocket was scheduled to launch the NASA GOES-L satellite from Launch Pad 36B.

On 10 December 1999, a C-130 was damaged in an aborted landing at Al Jabar Air Base, Kuwait, killing 3 and injuring 17 aboard, then diverted to an emergency landing at Kuwait City International Airport. The fuselage was to be saved for evidence in the investigation and possible court martial of the pilot. Team members left Robins 17 November 2000 to transport the hulk to the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. A 15-man team from the 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron prepared the wrecked C-130 carcass in Kuwait for transport to the "boneyard." The team used a 16-inch metal saw and a jury-rigged axle to prepare the fallen Hercules for loading into the hold of a C-5C Galaxy.

Page last modified: 01-07-2021 17:55:33 Zulu