REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The Super Guppy, NASA'S aircraft used to transport pieces of the Space Launch System, took off from Marshall Space Flight Center on Tuesday. This mission involves taking an important part of the rocket to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Super Guppy is transporting the Orion stage adapter, which is the second piece of flight hardware being delivered as part of the Space Launch System. It will connect the top of the space launch vehicle with the Orion spacecraft.
"Our engineers designed it and they saw it all the way through the manufacturing process," said Brent Gaddes, Orion Stage Adapter Manager. "If you didn't have it, obviously you couldn't fly the rocket."
Thirteen small satellites known as secondary payloads will also hitch a ride in the adapter to be transported to Kennedy Space Center, where they will take off with the rocket and collect lots of information in space.
The Guppy has a cargo compartment that is 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide, and 111 feet long and can carry more than 26 tons. "It looks odd when it flies but it actually flies very well. It goes about 250 miles an hour."
This data will bring us one step closer to human exploration in deep space.
The Space Launch System is expected to take off in December of 2019.