SGT 201 Aero Spacelines Super Guppy: American outsize cargo aircraft
The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy is a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft that is used for hauling outsize cargo components. It was the successor to the Pregnant Guppy, the first of the Guppy aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines. Five were built in two variants, both of which were colloquially referred to as the “Super Guppy”.
The Super Guppy is the only airplane to carry a complete S-IVB stage, the third stage of the Saturn V rocket. It did so several times during the Apollo program.
In the early 1970s, the two Super Guppy Turbines were used by Airbus to transport airplane parts from decentralized production facilities to the final assembly plant in Toulouse.
In 1982 and 1983, two additional Super Guppy Turbines were built by Union de Transports Aériens Industries in France after Airbus bought the right to produce the aircraft. The four Super Guppies have since been replaced in this role by the Airbus Beluga, capable of carrying twice as much cargo by weight.
Manufacturer: Aero Spacelines (USA)
First flight: 1970
Load capacity: 60 T
Engine: 4 Allison 501 D22C turbines
Power: 4 x 4680 HP
Speed: 460 km/h
Range: 3000 km
Ceiling: 6100 m (20,000 ft)
Aero Spacelines, Inc. was an American aircraft manufacturer from 1960 to 1968 that converted Boeing 377 Stratocruisers into the famous Guppy line of airplanes, re-engineered to transport oversized cargo such as space exploration vehicles.
Aero Spacelines was formed with only one customer in mind: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA needed to transport outsize cargo from manufacturing plants such as the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. These items were too large to be safely transported by rail or truck. Shipping by sea was time-consuming, expensive, and risky, with the danger of damaging the cargo on turbulent seas. But no aircraft of the day was large enough.