Photo Gallery: 'The Final Four' train for last space shuttle mission
May 28, 2011
— The four astronauts for the last space shuttle mission, STS-135, took part this past week in a training session inside Crew Compartment Trainer II, one of three shuttle replicas in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
"This is the one vertical strap-in exercise we get before going out to TCDT, which is the terminal countdown test," explained STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson, referring to the "dress rehearsal" they will conduct in mid-June with space shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad.
"Our strap-in tech and our crew chiefs will help us get in to the vertical. That is not usually how we get into the shuttle [to train]. We tend to work in the horizontal because it is more comfortable that way," said Ferguson.
The Crew Compartment Trainer II "one-G" shuttle mockup functions on a tilt and rotate system, which can put the trainer into five different positions for normal and contingency ingress and egress training.
After the STS-135 mission, CCT II is being given to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
STS-135 is targeted to launch on Friday, July 8 at about 11:40 a.m. EDT.
Photos: collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
Above: Crew Compartment Trainer II, rotated into the vertical, as space shuttle Atlantis will be oriented on the launch pad.
Above: STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson is helped into his survival backpack and parachute for his Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES), or "pumpkin suit," as it is affectionately known.
Above: The black cap Ferguson is wearing is a communications headset carrier, called the "Snoopy cap."
Above: STS-135 pilot Doug Hurley prepares to enter the Crew Compartment Trainer II to take his seat to the right of commander Fergson.
Above: STS-135 mission specialist Sandy Magnus waves to Ferguson as she waits to take her seat behind him on the flight deck.
Above: STS-135 mission specialist Rex Walheim (with Sandy Magnus in the background) waits for his turn to board the trainer.
Above: Looking up at Ferguson (left) and Hurley (right) being strapped into their seats on the flight deck (as viewed through one of the two overhead windows of the trainer).
Above: Magnus (left) crawls through the access door on the "floor" of the flight deck to take her seat behind the commander and pilot.
Above: Magnus (left) and Walheim (right) are the first to exit the trainer at the end of the strap-in training session.
Above: United Space Alliance (USA) techs assist the crew members doff their helmets and gloves at the end of the training session.
Above: The self-dubbed "Final Four" inscribed the wheel well wall of another mockup, the Full Fuselage Trainer, located nearby the Crew Compartment Trainer II in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility.
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