10 Mechanical Marvels whose Pictures Don’t Do their Size Justice
For about 50 years, the crawler-transporter has been one of the biggest and impressive machines at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. This mammoth beast is also the largest self-powered vehicle in the world. It was the one used to carry the Apollo Saturn V rockets around the Kennedy Space Center. Ever since then, it has also been responsible for carrying every space shuttle in the facility. In addition to the space shuttles, crawler-transporter also carries the launch pad.
The design of this machine was inspired by the huge machines that work in excavation and mining. This machine costs 14 million USD and weighs up to 2,721 tons without a rocket on it. It can carry an additional weight of 12 million pounds, that is almost 200% of its weight. The crawler-transporter has a top speed of 1.6 kph (1 mph). Also, its tanks hold up to 19,000 liters of diesel fuel, burning up to 296 liters per kilometer. Crawler-transporter’s managers claim that these machines are perfectly capable of being operable for the next 50 years. With a machine this big, it is quite ironic that the size of the steering wheel of this giant is as small as the one of a go-kart racecar. However, that small steering wheel is electric and is capable of moving one of the biggest machines we know. (1, 2)
7 Dockwise Vanguard (BOKA Vanguard)
With the ships being as big as they are, it’s hard to imagine a ship that is capable of carrying other ships. Dockwise Vanguard is a semi-submersible, heavy-lift ship and the largest vessel of her type ever built by mankind. Its watertight deck is designed to allow the water to flow over the deck without risking the safety of the ship. This sea-giant has a length of 275 meters and a molded breadth of 60 meters. It is able of carrying a cargo of up to a striking 110,000 tons.
The very first cargo of Dockwise Vanguard was Jack/St. Malo oil platform, the biggest semi-submersible floating oil platform ever built. The Jack/St. Malo oil platform weighs up to a mighty 53,000 tons. Dockwise Vanguard delivered this floating oil platform from the Samsung facility in South Korea to the Gulf of Mexico. Dockwise Vanguard is specially designed to move offshore oil and gas facilities, but can also carry other ships that are damaged or aren’t ready. Due to its numerous capabilities, Dockwise Vanguard is also capable of acting as an offshore dry dock facility. (source)
8 Big Bertha
This machine’s name comes from the name “Bertha Knight,” Seattle’s former female mayor. This massive-looking, the cylindrical machine is considered a marvel when it comes to making tunnels. Big Bertha is about 326 ft. long and weighs up to 7,000 tons. This giant has successfully dug a 1.7-mile tunnel underneath Seattle.
In addition to digging tunnels, Big Bertha cleans up after itself as it moves ahead. It also builds a concrete wall around the tunnel leaving a finished tunnel behind. Big Bertha has a speed of 35 ft. a day. With its incredible design and 57-foot-wide drilling tip, Big Bertha is able to carve through anything without disturbing the ground above. This machine is a perfect solution for cities which need underground tunnels as it can operate without causing any roadblocks or traffic during its operation. This machine is easily transportable from site to site via trucks, and it can be broken down into hundreds of 20-ton pieces. (source)
9 Antonov An-225 Mriya
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic-airlift cargo aircraft designed in the Soviet Union during the 1980s. This huge jetliner is the titleholder of the largest aircraft in the world. This behemoth has a length of 84 meters and a wingspan of 88 meters. To put its size in an everyday perspective, it would barely be able to fit on a soccer field. After having a first look at the size of this aircraft in its design stages, even the designer had doubts about its flying capabilities. It is operated with six engines which are capable of producing 300,000 lbs of thrust which also makes it the world’s most powerful aircraft. When one sees an aircraft as big as this lift-off, it feels as if the very law of gravity is being defied.
Two heavy-duty tractors are required to pull this aircraft around in the airport. Normally, an average aircraft only requires one tractor. The Antonov An-255 Mriya can take off with a maximum weight of 640,000 lbs and has a recorded top speed of 850 kph. What makes this plane unique is its size, its capability of carrying heavy payloads, its cost, and the fact that only one model of this plane was ever built. (source)
10 Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60
The Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60 is the largest conveyor belt in the world. It has a length of whopping 502 meters and a height of 79 meters. This machine is hard to comprehend at first glance. The name “F60” comes from its cutting height which is 60 meters.
F60’s Herculean stature surely leaves many in shock at first sight as it is the largest vehicle by physical dimensions ever built by mankind. F60 also holds the record of being the largest movable, technical, industry machine in the world. This machine in Germany is used to carry the overburden which lies above the coal. Due to its immense width, some people refer to it as the “lying Eiffel Tower.” In working conditions, it weighs 13,600 metric tons which makes F60 the second-heaviest land vehicle ever made. It is second only to Bagger 293, the bucket wheel excavator. (1, 2)
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