I also saw the roll-out
(Endeavour). This Shuttle will be used as a possible rescue
mission for our Shuttle in case it is needed. This highly
arrangement causes two Shuttle vehicles to be located on the two launch
pads at the same time.
Signing the banner for STS-400.
At the roll-out of Endeavour. From left to right: Russ
Ed Rezac (both EVA),
Mike Soluris (photographer), myself.
Visit to the Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility
This is one of the fifteen SSMEs that are in existance. The
main nozzle is cooled by liquid hydrogen, and this turns the liquid
into a gaseous form for combustion.
The entire assembly is supported on a single pivot point, and gimbals
and up/down to steer the Shuttle. We were permitted to stand
Light it up!
A view of the guts of the main engine. At the top, you can
the feed lines for the liquid
hydrogen and oxygen. The low pressure pumps are just under
flange. The main computer is on the lower
right (with all the connectors). The high pressure oxidizer
turbopump is right in front.
This is the large machine that lifts the main engine into the Shuttle
To see how that is done, see here
Our guide into the facility was William Muddle, who is one of
the managers of the group.
Installing our hardware into the Shuttle (again)
Now that the Shuttle has
to Pad 39A for launch, we install our hardware into the Shuttle once
again. As before, we install our hardware into a large Canister
, which is hoisted into a tower on the launch pad
the Payload Changeout Room (PCR). From here, we can do our
installations and checkouts between our hardware and the Shuttle.
Inside one of the levels of the PCR. In the background, you
see one of the Carriers that hold hardware that will be used during the
Click here for a 7MB panorama of the PCR.
One of the control panels that moves the giant gantry system towards
and away from
the Shuttle to install and access hardware. Note the close-up
the control stick below.
There is only one bathroom on the launch tower. It is on the
level as the crew cabin access and the slide-wire baskets.
Hey guys! Can you wait a minute!
(note the orange External Tank in the background).
Inside the crewcabin on the mid deck. In the lower
you can see
one of the space suits (EMUs) that will be used in the
mission patch on the chest area.
Here I am posing with one of the helmets of the space suit.
suit is on my right.
This photo shows the final time that I had the privilege of being
crew cabin of the Space Shuttle. It has been a wonderful few
working on missions that use this very useful spacecraft.
A typical Shuttle control panel. These are on the pilot's
you can see the panel names "R1" and "R2" (for "Right").
All of the switches have guards to prevent from being bumped
in flight. Some also have red locks to prevent someone from
on the ground. When the Orbiter is powered up, and these
are hit, a thruster can actually fire!
Close-up of the switches that shut down the Main Engines.
these is the button that separates the Solid Rocket Boosters from
This is the view from the Payload Changeout Room (PCR) onto
our carriers. At this point, the gantry covering the hardware
been pulled back, and we can now see the whole stack for
the first time. At the top is the airlock through which the
astronauts pass. Then the next carrier is the SLIC, which
holds WFC3 and the batteries, below that is the ORUC, which
holds the COS, the FGS, IMAX and several boxes containing tools.
It was a breathtaking sight for all of us to see all the carriers in
Under the ORUC, and behind me is the FSS, which holds Hubble during the
and below that is the MULE with the new Science Data Computer,
RNS, and other contingency hardware.
The Cargo Bay is ready for the mission!
With the mission preparations complete, our team has some time to
sit back and relax. Left to right: Bob Ritter, Bo Naasz, Ross
This mission was filmed by IMAX, and a movie will
be released in the Spring of 2010. On our last visit
to the pad, we saw the camera set up.
Article I wrote for the hometown
newspapers in Aruba
just prior to launch.
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