A mammoth truck carrying an aerospace autoclave took almost a year to reach its destination in Kerala from Maharashtra. The truck carried 70 tonnes of autoclave on 74 wheels and reached VSSC (Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre) in Kerala.
It covered about 1,700 kilometres from Nashik and reached the country's premier space research institute, in Thiruvananthapuram.
Usually, this distance is covered by other trucks in about five to six days but due to the load it carried, it took that long.
It sure was a mean machine as all the other vehicles were kept off-road when this truck moved on the road. The truck was controlled by a 32-member crew and was escorted by police vehicles when it moved. It was done to safeguard the state-of-the-art machinery.
The journey started on September 1 last year and it did have its share of troubles due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Reports state that every day, the truck covered an average distance of just 5 km because of the vehicle's unusual length and breadth. The entire road was blocked with no place for other vehicles to pass.
Iron girders were placed at two places so that smooth passage could be ensured for the truck as there were rickety bridges to cross.
According to Subhash Yadav, an employee of a private agency that was assigned to shift the autoclave from Nashik to VSSC, the movement was severely affected due to the lockdown. In Andhra Pradesh, the truck was halted for almost 30 days due to the pandemic situation. The intervention had to come from the agency later. Fortunately, engineers and mechanics were at hand in the team of 30 that accompanied the Volvo FM heavy-duty truck.
Another team member stated that almost the entire journey was made by many of the team members on foot. There were people in Kerala who told the team to make coronavirus vaccine instead of sending rockets into space.
According to a VSSC official, the heavy machinery will be commissioned in July and would not be dismantled. The autoclave would be used to manufacture large aerospace products for various programmes.