Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SVMF - Aerial


Continuing in the "Johnson Space Center Tour" theme, here is a facility that cannot possibly be missed on any trip to Houston! The Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF) is home to all the simulators and software+hardware exercises that support both engineering endeavors and astronaut training.

For instance, the longest-operating mockup is the giant Space Shuttle Orbiter (minus wings), commonly called the FFT or Full Fuselage Trainer. Built in the 1970s, the FFT houses a payload bay, flight quality systems, and detailed mid-deck, complete with airlocks, extra-vehicular activity suits for EVA practice, sleep stations, a waste management compartment and crew escape system.

Johnson Space Center
FFT and CCT (click for full size)

Nearby are two CCTs, or rotating Crew Compartment Trainers, which can be moved into seven different educational positions, whereby astronauts learn how to operate orbiter sub-systems for pre-launch, launch, flight, ISS docking and interface, and finally landing.

Another dominant layout in the enormous hangar is the SSMTF, or Space Station Mockup and Training Facility. This mass of metal is a full-scale replica of the space station cluster of American, Russian and Japanese nodes, and it serves as a training facility for both astronauts and ground crew, such as controllers.

All the trainer modules are also used by various design, engineering and electronics teams to develop and maintain new simulations for ISS activities in space, and to validate checklists and operating procedures.

NASA Houston
SSMTF (click for full size)

Check out the full photo gallery of aerial views of the major hardware in the SVMF… and don’t let the acronyms suffocate you on the way. In and around photographs of larger equipment, you may also glimpse the Androgynous Peripheral Docking System (APDS), the Precision Air-Bearing Floor (PABF), and the 3 DOF (Degree of Freedom) pneumatic partial gravity simulator, also known as the Pogo trainer.

Up next! We went prowling around the American logistics modules (Quest, Unity, Harmony & Destiny), and the Robotics areas to take some eye-level photographs on the workfloor. Also got some great close-ups of the Soyuz and Orion, so be sure to visit tomorrow for Part 2!