World’s most unique plane Pregnant Guppy played crucial role in NASA’s Apollo missions

It owes its name to a cute little fish, but this thing is anything but small.
  • The Pregnant Guppy helped NASA address a major problem
  • Now there’s a new model, which will perform the same task for the Artemis mission
  • With the Artemis mission, NASA aims to send a manned spacecraft to the Moon

Published on Feb 16, 2024 at 8:08PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Feb 21, 2024 at 7:47PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Adam Gray

NASA is determined to get back on the Moon and to establish a long-term presence on the Earth’s satellite.

The agency is gearing up to send a massive 3D printer there to build homes for humans, and it has also just designed fuel to support life on the Moon.

But all of these incredible feats are thanks to the help of one pretty weird-looking plane.

READ MORE: How NASA astronaut Frank Rubio’s body changed after more than a year in space

One of the biggest hurdles with the Space Race, and something we often underestimate, is that a lot of parts are needed, and they need to be transported.

NASA found itself limited by the size of planes and trains, and transporting pieces by barge could take weeks.

Weeks it couldn’t afford if it wanted to land the first man on the Moon.

And so the Pregnant Guppy was created.

This massive Pregnant Guppy aircraft has the largest cargo compartment in the world, and it was originally specifically made to transport the Saturn rocket for the Apollo program.

And now there’s a new model, the Super Guppy Turbine, which is designed to perform exactly the same task for the Artemis mission.

The ultimate goal is to take us back to the Moon, and set up a base there.

NASA is actually working with Elon Musk’s SpaceX for this mission.

The plane’s unique capabilities make it useful not only to NASA, but to the American government, too.

The Guppy has previously transported aircraft and oversized cargo for the Air Force and the Navy.

When elements like narrow roads, low bridges and hanging power lines make transporting certain items impossible, the Guppy offers a solution.

While other aircraft can take more weight than the Guppy, none boast the same cargo space, with a storage area that’s 25 feet in diameter and 111 feet long.

The Guppy’s unique nose makes it ideal for transporting large and awkwardly-shaped items.

Such as rockets, or entire planes.

The nose hinges open to 110 degrees, allowing the aircraft to be loaded from the front.

While its cargo hold is huge, the Guppy only takes four crew members at a time.

That’s a lot of legroom.

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