NASA Uses Cute Looking 1965 Aircraft to Move Orion Spacecraft

NASA's ambitions for manned space missions have not been this high for decades. And we’re not talking solely about the development of commercial crew spaceships, but an entire new-gen launch platform called the Space Launch System (SLS), which serves the purpose of transporting men, and for the first time women, from Earth to the Moon and back.
Super Guppy at Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport 5 photos
Photo: NASA / Bridget Caswell
People Cheering for the arrival of Super GuppySuper Guppy before landingSupper GuppySuper Guppy unloading Orion Spacecraft
To this extent, SLS launched NASA’s Orion Crew from Kennedy Space Center all the way to Ohio for a series of tests, to gather more data for when the ship actually leaves for outer space. As you cannot rely on FedEx to transport spacecraft, NASA has used a plane specifically designed for this type of operations, called the Super Guppy. And its super cute looking.

The Super Guppy entered service in 1965 to carry parts of Apollo-era Saturn V rockets across the country, and NASA still uses it today to haul big equipment like the Orion. The Super Guppy is an impressive piece of engineering on its own, it has a maximum cruising speed of 300 mph (480 km/h) and can carry around 54,000 pounds (24,000 kg) of cargo.

The reason NASA brought Guppy to light is to carry Orion to Ohio to see if it will survive the harsh conditions of outer space. The spacecraft will travel to Plum Brook Station where tests will be conducted in the largest vacuum chamber in the world. The plane landed at Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport on Sunday, Nov. 24. after a problem free flight and brought joy to the people that waited and cheered for its arrival.

During the testing in the vacuum chamber, Orion will be exposed to extreme temperatures, with figures ranging from -250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to replicate, as much as possible the in-and-out transition from sunlight to space darkness and vice versa.

NASA’s Glenn Research Center stated: “The spacecraft is headed to NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio for the final stretch of major testing before integration with the Space Launch System rocket for the Artemis I launch,” (…) “Orion will undergo thermal and electromagnetic testing in our Space Environments Complex.”
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