MESA, AZ — A specialized aircraft from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration made a stop in the Valley on Thursday.
The Super Guppy aircraft appears to have traveled from Wichita, Kansas, to Mesa Gateway Airport Thursday afternoon. Mesa Gateway says the aircraft often stops in the Valley for fuel while transporting pieces of the Orion heat shield, but it's unclear if that was the purpose of today's stop.
The plane's unique construction is designed to haul specialized parts. During a previous Mesa stop in 2014, the plane was carrying a hybrid wing body aircraft. The airport has not said what was onboard on this trip.
Versions of the Super Guppy have been in use by NASA since the early 1960s and can carry more than 26 tons of cargo. Its whale-shaped compartment measures 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide, and 111 feet long. The aircraft's hinged nose can rotate 200 degrees, allowing it to be loaded and unloaded from the front.