NASA’s Aero Spacelines Super Guppy loads the Orion spacecraft at Mansfield-Lahm Regional Airport March 23, 2020. The “Super Guppy” is used by NASA to carry oversized cargo and landed in Ohio to transport the Orion space capsule to the Kennedy Space Center. The Orion has been undergoing testing in Ohio since November, and will be part of the NASA Artemis Mission. Airmen from the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard provided airlift and ground support to NASA during the mission.
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 in the world capable of carrying a complete S-IVB stage”, the third stage of the Saturn V rocket. The Super Guppy performed this role several times during the Apollo program.
The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV) is a class of partially reusable spacecraft used in NASA’s human spaceflight programs. Consisting of two components – a Crew Module (CM) manufactured by Lockheed Martin and a European Service Module (ESM) manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space – the spacecraft are designed to support crewed exploration beyond low Earth orbit. A single AJ10 engine provides the spacecraft’s primary propulsion, while eight R-4D-11 engines and six pods of custom reaction control system engines developed by Airbus.
The 179th Airlift Wing (179 AW) is a unit of the Ohio Air National Guard, stationed at Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Mansfield, Ohio. If activated to federal service with the United States Air Force, the Wing is gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC). The 179th utilizes the C-130H Hercules to provide direct airlift support to the United States Army and ancillary airlift support to other branches of the U.S. armed forces. The primary mission of the unit is to deliver time sensitive/mission critical supplies the “last tactical mile,” as well as to provide airlift capabilities in support of homeland defense operations.