One of the coolest yet weirdest aircraft in operation, the NASA Super Guppy, was caught being used last week, giving us a look at exactly how NASA makes use of the giant-headed plane.
The plane was used to carry the Orion crew module pressure vessel from the Michaud assembly facility in New Orleans to Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
The operation started on Monday, with a crane lifting Orion onto a kind of transportation stand, with the whole thing then being put inside the Super Guppy. After the cargo was placed inside and checked, the plane was closed up like a giant door in preparation for take off.
The Super Guppy itself has a cargo area that is a hefty 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide, and 111 feet long - much higher and wider than a conventional passenger plane. It can carry up to 26 tons of cargo, and is used by NASA to transport large components of spaceships that would otherwise be too large to transport via land or sea.
The plane was first used back in the 1960s to transport parts of the Saturn V rocket to Florida from California, a move which otherwise would have taken weeks or months. The Orion will eventually be outfitted with the rest of its parts and will then take its second flight, which is scheduled for 2018. The Orion will launch atop the NASA Space Launch System rocket in what will be an unmanned test flight.