Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Week of Behind the Scenes Tours at NASA: Day 2

Today in our second day of NASA's Training Academy we learned about the ISS processes, visiting vehicles, decision boards, and space flight resource management. Remember, this week is just a very high level introduction to JSC and ISS. Bonus points if you remember what those acronyms stand for.

Today we toured Building 5 (such creative names these engineer folk have). The building is home to the remote hell that will become my life when I start actually doing simulations. You see, I will be sitting over in Building 30 (the Mission Control Center) in a mock-up flight control room proving that I can react appropriately to the malfunctions these guys send me. Also, the facility has a mock-up of sorts for each module on the ISS with some working parts. I know it sounds sketchy, but it is actually quite useful for the astronauts to practice various items.

Additionally, the space shuttle simulators used to be housed in this building, but have since been farmed out to various other institutions. The empty floor is kind of a stark reality that we are without a US vehicle to transport astronauts to/from the space station.

Ooooo, Awwwww....pretty sign!
These are both pictures from inside the ISS mock up. Note rolly chairs are not flight rated.

The room designed to inflict pain on young, burgeoning flight controllers.

Flight-like hatch hardware.

This room used to be the home of the Space Shuttle simulator, which has been shipped off to Texas A&M. I believe one of my uncles used to work here (shout out to Uncle Jeff, I'm 97.43% sure he doesn't read this, but still).

T-38 cockpit simulator. Astronauts spend a good bit of time in their sporty little T-38s.

You know all those pretty picture of the Earth you see online, well a lot of those are taken from this area in the space station, known as the "cupola". This mock-up will soon join the rest of the ISS mock-up in a different section of the building.