@ YOU CAN TOUR THE SUPER GPPY TODAY, SUNDAY. Astronauts Gregory Johnson, a West Seattle High School grad, and Bonnie Dunbar, pictured left, were greeted by a thrilled Gov. Gregoire after they piloted, then landed, the NASA Super Guppy cargo plane Saturday, June 30. It brought the Space Shuttle crew compartment portion of the full-fuselage trainer in its "belly" which separated. It can be seen at the museum's Charles Simonyi Space Gallery.
UPDATE: SLIDESHOW- Huge crowd greets giant Super Guppy & its cargo, Space Shuttle trainer crew compartment at Museum of Flight
Tour the Super Guppy today, Sunday
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR SLIDESHOW
Sunday, July 1
10:00 AM Super Guppy open for tours until 3:00 PM
2:00 PM Public program with Super Guppy Pilot (and Astronaut) Greg Johnson and crew in Space Gallery
4:00 PM Super Guppy Pilot (and Astronaut) Greg Johnson and crew meet with Washington Aerospace Scholars (W.A.S.)
Museum of Flight website
Thousands of onlookers seemed thrilled as the NASA Super Guppy cargo plane, which appears to be about nine months pregnant, did a "fly-by" over Boeing Field by the Museum of Flight Saturday, June 30, heading north toward downtown Seattle before returning to land. Inside its giant belly sat the 24-foot-long Space Shuttle crew compartment portion of the full-fuselage trainer, or FFT, awaiting its public, and a permanent place in the museum's Charles Simonyi Space Gallery.
It will join other components and will then look like an entire Space Shuttle. It arrived from Travis AFB, Fairfield, Ca., landing at Boeing at about 12:15 p.m. after circling the city and Everett's Paine Field. Speeches were given following its landing. Then the Guppy's cargo body divided, exposing, then liberating, the trainer compartment. It was shuttled across East Marginal Way to the gallery.
The museum signed a Space Act Agreement during a brief January ceremony at the Houston Space Center, which transferred ownership of the trainer to the Seattle Museum of Flight. The Space Shuttle trainer was used to educate astronauts for the past three decades.
Giving speeches were Museum of Flight President and CEO Doug King, Board President Mike Hallman, Governor Christine Gregoire, Congressman Jim McDermott, Space Shuttle astronauts Gregory Johnson of West Seattle, Bonnie Dunbar of Sunnyside, Wa., and Dr. Janet Kavandi of Carthage, Missouri, who earned her doctorate at the University of Washington, and other dignitaries. The astronauts were the Super Guppy's pilots on Saturday's flight.
KOMO weather forecaster Steve Pool, a museum board of trustee member for 20 years, emceed. On the podium, Pool took a bit of credit for the weather cooperating, then leaped up from his seat with good humor to apologize to the public when it began to lightly rain.
"It's a very big deal," Pool told the West Seattle Herald, referring to the museum's latest acquisition. "I go back to when we just had the great gallery and we've made such huge progress. I'm just thrilled."
"I have not seen it before," Gov. Gregoire told the West Seattle Herald, referring to the Super Guppy, looking amazed. "It is one of a kind. Look at the enthusiasm in the crowd."
The Museum and political leaders statewide originally vied for one of the three decommissioned Space Shuttles to be awarded to space museums. Over 20 museums competed. It was announced April 12, 2011 that the rockets would land elsewhere, but that the Seattle Museum of Flight would get the Full Fuselage Trainer. It promises to be a fine consolation prize because school children and others can explore its inner workings. The actual Space Shuttles displayed at the other museums are not accessible to the public.
"I'm so happy that Greg (Johnson) and the others brought the Shuttle trainer home," the governor added. "Bonnie Dunbar and I have debated it. We wanted the Shuttle. But this museum is to educate kids, and make them enthusiastic. This (trainer) will give these kids an opportunity they can't get anywhere else. I'm ecstatic we got it."
Astronaut Gregory Johnson
The West Seattle Herald asked Astronaut Johnson, who graduated West Seattle High School, if he had any advice to give the students there.
"Study hard and have fun," Johnson declared. "That's my motto," he said, adding, "It's great to be home, especially when you can bring home some space hardware. It's wonderful to fly the Guppy. It's a little piece of history. And certainly the fully functional fuselage trainer is a great piece of history for the Seattle area."
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