Orbiter Test of the Bit Sync Assembly (BSA) & Telemetry Module (TM)

First in a series of mission updates for 2008


In May 19 through 23 in 2008, we were at the Kennedy Space Center to test the Telemetry Module (TM) and the Bit Sync Assembly (BSA) with Atlantis.  This is the Orbiter that will be used on the last servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.  In this test, we test the communication system end-to-end from a simulated Hubble Telescope (in the command and telemetry sense) which communicates with Atlantis.  This ship then in turn relays its data via the Space Network (TDRS, White Sands Center, Johnson Space Center, Goddard Space Flight Center) to the ground terminal displays back home in Maryland.


Our Orbiter for the mission will be the good ship Atlantis.  We visit her
in Orbital Processing Facility (OPF-1).


Standing here next to Dave Southwick, one of my good friends on the project. 
This is in front of the nose section.  The small round circles are the forward
control jets that orient the Orbiter in space.


Under the nose section with the open wheel doors.  The wheels
are lowered hydraulically, but cannot be retracted while in
flight.  Once they are retracted here, they are kept that way
until needed again during landing.


With Pete Sparacino, another good friend on the project. Here we are above the orbiter door.  In the background is the open Cargo Bay.  The red bar in the far background is the Orbiter Inspection Boom (aka OBSS).  The other red boom behind me is the Shuttle Robot arm (RMS).  The end that grabs hubble is visible as the white canister with the black  marks.  The OBSS is picked up by the RMS to inspect all the thermal tiles on the Orbiter.  You can see the back wall of the Cargo Bay in the right hand side.


Inside the Aft Flight Deck facing the Cargo Bay.  These windows are used by the astronauts to see out.  Note the two control sticks that can be used to fly the Atlantis.


In the Commander's chair (aka CDR).  The control stick is covered with the red cover to prevent damage.  The flight deck is extremely cramped, and is no bigger than a car.  Note the windows are covered to protect them.


Another view of the Commander's chair.  Our commander will be Scott Altman.

will
Another good friend, Dr. Will Clement.  In the background one can see the BSA,
a subject of this test.  It is the gold box tucked under the panel.


View from the mid deck onto the air lock hatch.


Inside the air lock.  From here, the astronauts perform their space walks.  Their space suits are hung in this air lock.  It is a very small space for two men and four suits.


Lying down in the spot above, you see this view: the actual air lock.


Some detailed panels.  This one is used in case of fire (obviously).


Controls for the drag shute, and the heads-up display (top left) for the commander.


One of the top window can be blown open with explosives.  This charges is ALWAYS armed, and will blow if we pull this handle.  Note the main engine status lights above this handle.  If one of the three lights go out, the commander needs to decide to abort the ascent or go ahead with orbital insertion.


When the window is blown, these packs clip onto a particular astronaut (they are adjusted for the crewman's weight), so that they can slide out.  There are four more on the other side.


The Galley.  Top part is the water supply, middle is the oven to reheat the packaged food. The water heater is on the right (orange covered).  The bathroom is on the other side opposite this picture.  Since it was not installed (being refurbished for flight), I did not shoot a picture.


The astronauts send commands to Hubble when we are attached using this GPC computer screen known as "SPEC210" (pronounced speck-two-ten).  During our test, we used this screen to send commands.


Back in the Launch Control Center, we will be using this Firing Room for our launch in October 2008.  More details soon.


KSC is a wildlife preserve.  Just down the road from our office (inside KSC), we saw this 2-3 foot gator.


Videos

Here is a unedited six-part informal tour of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.  Please pardon the rough nature of the narration.  It is best to click them from top to bottom order.


First part, the nose section. Note the reaction control nozzles
that orient the Shuttle when in space.


Second part, view from the top port side.  Note the two red bars
in the Cargo Bay that I discussed previously.


Third, a view of the aft section shows the missing
main engines.  Note that they are fastened to the yellow bars.
These contain hydraulic actuators that pivot and gimble the
main engines to steer the Space Shuttle.


Fourth, inside the flight deck.


Fifth, inside the flight deck II.


Sixth part, inside the mid deck (living room, kitchen, bath, etc).


Links:

Official SM-4 Hubble Servicing Website.

First page of ICE/TM page

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