NASA’s Super Guppy spacecraft is to lend a friendly piggyback ride to the Mars-bound Orion vehicle to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA’s Orion capsule which is supposed to go on a mission to Mars will start its next phase at the Kennedy Space Center. In the wee morning hours, the vessel was at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
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The Super Guppy aircraft carried the Orion capsule from New Orleans to Cape Canaveral. This Super Guppy is a cute aircraft which measures 25 X 25 X 111 in its height, width and length.
More than 26 tons of cargo can be carried by the Super Guppy aircraft. It is commonly employed by NASA to send large pieces of equipment from one part of the nation to another.
The journey can be over land or sea. The Super Guppy is not exactly a new entity. It goes back all the way to the first Apollo program. In the 60s, it carried the parts of the Saturn V rocket from California to Florida.
Since the alternative would have been to ship the rocket parts from the Panama Canal – a complicated maneuver at best – hence this scheme was employed.
NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft, carrying the Orion crew module pressure vessel for NASA’s Exploration Mission-1, arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility operated by Space Florida at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Brittney Mostert
The Super Guppy has been utilized to carry everything from supersonic jets to modules that are in turn used aboard the ISS. It is a versatile carrier aircraft alright.
Just awhile back, it was used to transport Orion’s heat shield. This heat shield was a huge piece of constructed technology. As for the Orion spacecraft, it is a very valuable vehicle.
A fundamental part of NASA’s mission to send human beings to Mars, it just might do the trick. It will ultimately carry four astronauts on board and make the journey to the Red Planet. This will be aboard the SLS (Space Launch System).
The prototype of Orion took to the skies two years ago. Termed the EFT-1, it brought Orion to a height of 3600 miles above the earth’s surface. That is over 15 times the distance of the ISS from the planetary level.
EFT-1 road tested, or rather space tested, several functions of the mission. The ensuing information feedback from EFT-1 was employed to implement design choices for the Orion spacecraft.
Computer models simulated the flight in real time. Orion happens to be the first aircraft to fly past Low Earth Orbit in more than a generation.
The pressure vessel that forms Orion’s main structure was created by NASA under special conditions. Eventually when it gets completed, the game will be on.