Team GeekWire and family are getting ready to head down to Seattle’s Museum of Flight this morning for what promises to be a real spectacle — the scheduled 11 a.m. arrival of NASA’s “Super Guppy” cargo plane.
The unique aircraft will be delivering the crew compartment of the Space Shuttle Trainer, the replica orbiter that will go on permanent display at the museum.
No, it’s not an actual Space Shuttle, but we’ve all gotten over that particular turn of events, right? Events like today are one of the reasons it’s so cool to live in a place with such great traditions in technology and aerospace.
The arrival of the Super Guppy kicks off a week of events as part of the museum’s ShuttleFest celebration. The event this morning is open to the public, and details are available on the museum’s website. You can also track the flight from California on Flight Aware.
To get you in the mood for the arrival, here’s an FAQ from the museum about the Super Guppy:
NASA’s Super Guppy cargo transport is the last aircraft of its kind designed to transport large cargo such as satellites, rocket stages and jumbo-jet fuselage assemblies. The Super Guppy is bringing portions of NASA’s Full Fuselage Trainer to The Museum of Flight for permanent display.
- The first Guppy was built in 1962 by Aero Spacelines Inc., who built and operated several Guppy aircrafts
- The Super Guppy, designated N941NA, is the only aircraft still flying today
- The Super Guppy aircraft was acquired by NASA from the European Space Agency in 1997
- The aircraft is based at Ellington Field near Houston, Texas and is assigned to Johnson Space Center
- The Super Guppy cargo compartment is 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide and 111 feet long. It can carry a maximum payload of more than 26 tons. There is 39,000 cubic feet of usable volume within the aircraft
- The forward cabin features seating for three crew and four passengers
- The Super Guppy is equipped with Allison T-56-501-D22C engines that give the aircraft airspeed of around 200 knots at low altitudes or 185 knots at higher altitudes
- The Super Guppy can be leased from the government for other cargo-carrying operations when it is not being used to ship NASA spacecraft components