The Super Guppy Turbine and its predecessors, the Pregnant Guppy/Super Guppy, were large, wide-bodied aircraft, designed specifically to transport outsize cargo for NASA’s Apollo and Gemini missions. Its unique size, shape and hinged opening allowed it to transport machinery that no other aircraft could carry - making it possible for the United States to pull ahead in the Space Race.
Designed by Aero Spacelines, the Guppies did what no other aircraft could do - transport NASA’s Saturn rockets from other parts of the country to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Before their introduction, rockets and outsized cargo were transported by sea through the Panama Canal, taking nearly three weeks and often resulting in damaged components. The Guppies could carry these supersized loads in a matter of hours.