Super guppy lands in Wichita to pick up NASA's mission control

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) An unusual sighting at Eisenhower National Aiport as NASA's Super Guppy made a special visit to Wichita on Wednesday.

The large aircraft, which looks like a fish, came to town to pick up a set of historic Mission Control panels that were restored by the Kansas Cosmosphere.

The panels will be flown back to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. They're part of a larger restoration project expected to be completed by July to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.

The preservation team says everything will be restored - from buttons and labels - to lighting and coffee mugs.

"Se want to have the room to have the look and feel the guys in white shirts and skinny black ties that were the flight control in that era. We want the room to appear that everyone just kinda stood up and walked out of the room," said Jim Thorton, the project manager for the restoration.

Each console is about the size of a refrigerator. The oversized cargo plane is powered by four, turbine engines and can carry up to 26 tons of cargo.

Wednesday's visit marks the second time the Super Guppy has come to Wichita. The aircraft will held back to Houston Thursday morning.

Last year, an Aero Spacelines Super Guppy carrying pieces of the Orion spacecraft landed in Wichita for refueling.