NASA is determined to get back on the moon with its Artemis mission and to establish a long-term presence on the Earth’s satellite.
But all of these incredible feats are thanks to the help of one pretty weird-looking plane.
When America’s space race was in full swing, NASA needed to speed things up however it could.
One of the greatest difficulties when it came to building rockets and satellites was the transportation of parts.
The agency 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 aircraft had the largest cargo compartment ever built, specially made to transport the Saturn rocket for the Apollo program.
“To say that this amazing aircraft helped America win the space race would be an understatement,” NASA stated.
Now the latest model, the Super Guppy Turbine, is assisting with the new age of space exploration.
Most recently it delivered the heat shield skin for the Artemis 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.