If you look up in the sky on Nov. 7 and think you’re seeing a flying whale, it’s actually NASA’s Super Guppy cargo plane.
The NASA Johnson Space Center is in the process of conducting a comprehensive, historically accurate, restoration of the Apollo Mission Control Center National Historical Landmark and is working to complete this ambitious project in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing on July 20, 2019. The overall goal of the project is to make the Apollo MCC appear exactly how it was in July, 1969.
The Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson has the responsibility for restoring the key centerpiece of the project – the flight control consoles in the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) of the Apollo Mission Control Center in Houston. These consoles were used by Apollo flight controllers under the leadership of the flight director to monitor spacecraft telemetry, maintain communication, and send commands to the spacecraft during the mission. All planning and execution of the mission was conducted out of this flight control room.
The Kansas Cosmosphere was chosen to perform the console restoration tasks because of their experience and outstanding reputation in providing the highest standards of craftsmanship to restoration and conservation of space artifacts. NASA JSC is proud to have the Cosmosphere as their partner working on this project.
Additionally, as part of the restoration, the consoles will be “re-animated” to allow the consoles to display status and caution and warning lights as well as trajectory and other systems plots that were displayed on the Apollo consoles.
The first shipment of consoles was trucked to the Cosmosphere for restoration earlier this year. Now that the restoration work on these consoles is complete, NASA is taking advantage of the Super Guppy Transport aircraft training flight opportunity to fly them back to Houston. The Super Guppy has a rich history of flying hardware elements across the country that supported the Apollo Program and this is yet another way for NASA to celebrate the 50th anniversary season of the Apollo Program.
The Super Guppy will be parked at Yingling’s ramp. It will arrive on Nov. 7 at 11:00 am and depart on Nov. 8 at 8:00 am. Tune into the Airport’s Facebook Page for live streaming of the event.