Posts: 1642 From: Olympia, WA Registered: Sep 2011
posted 12-16-2012 07:47 PM
I wrote Mike Mullane, asking his opinions on the Full Fuselage Trainer (FFT) at Johnson Space Center and if it was a realistic training tool, as it's now at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. I'm thinking of volunteering there to conduct tours of the FFT on display and asked him for any info that would be good to pass along to the people on the tours if indeed I do that. Here's what he wrote back:
As for the FFT, we only had a few sessions in it. We trained with emergency egress from it... from the side hatch, as well as repelling out the top cockpit emergency hatch. We also did full dress out sims for space walks using the mid-deck and airlock to get dressed and undressed. Another thing I recall is doing a run through on our mission storage locker arrangement on the front wall of the mid-deck. I also seem to recall that the cockpit could be tilted vertical so we could practice strapping into the cockpit for launch. As for the upper cockpit instruments, I don’t believe they were even active. We did NOT train for missions in the FFT with mission software and CGI in the windows as we did in the motion-based and fixed-base sims in a different building. The FFT was also used for fit checking new experiments that were to me mounted inside the cockpit.
If you recall in Riding Rockets, it was at the FFT (I believed we had a different acronym back then, but I’m traveling right now and don’t have access to my book) where a tech took down the STS-27 mission decal I put over the hatch during one of my training sessions. The patch was later removed and when I asked why I was given this explanation: because the only patch they had ever put over the hatch PRIOR to a mission was 51L and so they had a superstition that a patch could only be put on AFTER the mission returned safely. You might tell that story to tourists. It is bizarre to think there are superstitions among engineers, but there are.