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NASA's Guppy Heritage
Guppy aircraft have played a significant role in meeting NASA's launch schedules since the Apollo days. When President Kennedy declared the goal of reaching the moon before 1970, the Pregnant Guppy 377PG and Super Guppy 377SGT-F helped to make it possible. California-based Aero Spacelines met the requirement with the Guppy, which was developed in 1962. Aero Spacelines flew over two million miles in support of NASA's Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs, airlifting mammoth yet delicate components and equipment.
Besides air transport, the only other way to get the Apollo rocket stages from California to Florida was on a slow boat through the Panama Canal. The Guppy aircraft cut not just days, but weeks and months out of the schedules. Without these unique aircraft, we never would have made it to the moon by 1969!
Today the International Space Station needs some of the same capabilities. NASA and its international partners, with manufacturers worldwide, are building the newest wonder of the world. In the coming years, the International Space Station will be assembled in space. Its components will be transported to the launch site from all over the world. To solve the logistics challenge, NASA will use the newest version of the Super Guppy, the 377SGT-F.
This Super Guppy will be even more successful than its predecessor, since it will be available under NASA's technology program for use by other industries when not in use by the International Space Station Program.