Airbus continues to expand its portfolio of products supporting the future of space exploration with the delivery of two new H135 helicopters to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from the Airbus Helicopters production and completion facility in Columbus, Mississippi. These aircraft, along with a third scheduled for delivery early next year, will be based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and operated for a variety of missions, including aerial security at rocket launches, emergency medical services, research, and qualified passenger transportation.
In October, one of the H135s will escort the members of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the historic launch pad at 39A, where it will depart for a six-month expedition to the ISS. The helicopters will also support efforts to prepare for and execute Artemis, a planned expedition to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. The helicopters were acquired through the US government’s General Services Administration’s agreement with Davenport Aviation, a certified woman-owned small business and HUBZone contractor specialising in the supply of aerospace equipment to federal, state and local government agencies.
Airbus’ light, twin-engine H135 includes Airbus Helicopters’ own Helionix avionics suite. NASA also recently signed a US$15 million support contract for up to 10 years, in which Airbus Helicopters will support NASA’s H135 fleet, including maintenance and flight operations with two pilots, two mechanics and one program manager onsite at Kennedy Space Center.