Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Week of Behind the Scenes Tours at NASA: Day 3

Today's tour was at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL). This is NASA's incredibly large pool with mock-ups of most of the US segments and truss structure of the International Space Station. I have been to the pool before (thanks Uncle Howard!), but now that I am a certified diver I have a much different appreciation for all of the logistics associated with operating this tank.

Welcome to the NBL with 6 ft thick reinforced concrete for the floor and a hyperbaric chamber just in case!
A panorama from the pool deck (not too many visitors get this kind of access).
This is the "control center" where test directors sit during EVA test runs. Lots of cameras!

The view out of the windows from the control center, you can see the truss segment running the length of the pool and the US LAB and adjoining modules on the left. The yellow stands in the back are the cranes that actually lift the astronauts into and out of the pool.