On December 10, 2014 I was able to see NASA's Aero Spacelines B-377-SGT Super Guppy Turbine at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. It was only there for a quick Gas-n-Go while on a cross-country flight from California to Virginia. During their stop, I was able to briefly talk to one of the pilots about the aircraft and what their current mission was.
NASA's Super Guppy aircraft was acquired by NASA from the European Space Agency under an International Space Station barter agreement, and manufactured by Airbus Industries. The new Super Guppy is the latest version in a long line of Guppy cargo aircraft used by NASA. Guppy aircraft were used in several past space programs, including Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab, to transport spacecraft components. The first Guppy aircraft was developed in 1962, designed specifically for NASA operations by Aero Spacelines of California.
Aero Spacelines, Inc. was an American aircraft manufacturer which made a name for itself by converting Boeing 377 Stratocruisers into the famous Guppy line of airplanes, re-engineered solely for transporting oversized cargo such as space exploration vehicles. Aero Spacelines was formed with only one customer in mind, NASA. NASA required a way to transport outsized cargo from their suppliers' manufacturing plants to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
On this mission, the NASA Super Guppy was hauling a PRSEUS test article from Long Beach Airport, California to the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The large test article, representing the uniquely shaped fuselage cross-section, is made out of a low-weight, damage-tolerant, stitched composite structural concept called Pultruded Rod Stitched Efficient Unitized Structure, or PRSEUS. Langley's Combined Loads Test System will subject the revolutionary carbon-fiber architecture test article to conditions that simulate loads typically encountered in flight. Structural testing at Langley is one of eight, large-scale integrated technology demonstrations designed to further the goals of NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) project to reduce aircraft fuel consumption, noise levels and emissions through revolutionary design and manufacture of tomorrow’s aircraft. The hybrid wing body structural technology test article was built for NASA by Boeing Research & Technology in Huntington Beach, California, and assembled in Long Beach. NASA worked with The Boeing Company and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop the PRSEUS structural concept.
Information provided by NASA and Wikipedia.