Transporting large capsules on Earth can be a daunting process, but NASA has its own equipment to do the work – one of which is the giant transporter Super Guppy, according tomedia The Verge. The transporter, which is capable of carrying heavy loads from point A to point B, has just delivered the space agency’s next manned spacecraft to Ohio for a test.
The treasured cargo carried by the Super-Gobby fish is NASA’s Orion spacecraft, a new crew capsule designed to take future astronauts into deep space and eventually to the moon. NASA is preparing to use its giant rocket, the Space Launch System, for the first unmanned test flight of a Orion spacecraft. The flight will take three weeks before the capsule returns to Earth, sending the Orion constellation to the moon.
Engineers are conducting a series of tests on the Orion spacecraft to see if it is ready to go into space. Over the next two months, NASA will test the Orion spacecraft at the Plum Brook Research Station, which will be tested by extreme temperatures in the world’s largest vacuum chamber. The vehicle will experience temperatures of minus 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit to simulate the various environments it will experience beyond Earth. NASA will also test the Orion spacecraft’s electronic systems to ensure they are operating properly at the same time.
After all these steps, Super-Gobby will also bring the Orion spacecraft back to Florida, revealing that it will be installed on future SLS. However, SLS is still under development and it is unclear when it will be ready for launch. A recent government audit recommended that flights not take place until 2021 at the earliest, and a NASA official said that was possible.