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Updated at bottom with picture of the crew compartment after it was unwrapped.

We (and our kids) had a great time today down at the Museum of Flight, where NASA’s freakishly cool Super Guppy cargo plane delivered the crew compartment of the Full Fuselage Trainer — the replica Space Shuttle orbiter that will have a permanent home at the museum.

And yes, it did feel almost like an alien landing when that stairway came down.

Seattle-born astronaut Greg Johnson talks with Gov. Chris Gregoire after piloting the Super Guppy to Boeing Field on Saturday.

After buzzing the Seattle skyline, the Super Guppy touched down at Boeing Field as a big crowd cheered the feat. We watched as the plane’s nose was cracked open on its hinge to reveal the crew compartment in a protective white wrapper. After some expert maneuvering, the crew compartment was delivered across the street to the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery, where it will be joined with the other pieces of the trainer for display.

The Super Guppy was piloted over the city by astronaut Greg Johnson, a Seattle native who maneuvered the giant aircraft through some inclement weather. Speaking with GeekWire after touching down, he called it a “wonderful day” for the museum and a special moment for him.

Alluding to the fact that Seattle lost its bid for a real Space Shuttle, he said, “The Full Fuselage Trainer is a trainer that every Shuttle astronaut had trained on. You actually can go inside it and see how the astronauts lived. … It would have been nice to have a shuttle, but you wouldn’t be inside a shuttle.”

The entire process of landing, maneuvering and unloading took a few hours, but we’ve boiled it down for you to less than five minutes of highlights in the video above.

Update, July 1: Here’s the culmination of the event — the Full Fuselage Trainer crew compartment after it was unwrapped, courtesy Budi Prasetya. See a full gallery of his photos from the event.

Click any image below to launch our photo gallery.

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