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Super Guppy

20 Nov 2009, 15:28 UTC
Super Guppy
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The Super Guppy aircraft was originally based upon the Boeing 377, an airliner developed from the KC-97 tanker. With an inner diameter of 25 feet, this plane could carry full-size Saturn rocket stages across the US in a matter of hours. The Guppies played an vital role in getting people to the Moon in a decade. This last remaining Super Guppy has been used to carry parts for the International Space Station and Orion.The idea for the first "Pregnant Guppy" came over drinks. Pilot Jack Conroy and Lee Mansdorf were discussing the problem of moving Saturn rocket stages across the US by barge. Mansdorf had recently come into possession of several Boeing 377 Stratocruisers and was looking for a business. Conroy made some sketches and the first Guppy was born. Built with private funding, it first flew on September 19, 1962. At first NASA engineers doubted that this funny-looking aircraft could even fly. Without a NASA contract and nearly out of money, Conroy flew the Guppy across the US on a demonstration tour. Ending up in Huntsville, he showed the aircraft to skeptical NASA engineers. MSFC Director Wehrner Von Braun was so excited that he took a ride himself. NASA ...

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