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  Texas A&M: Shuttle Motion Simulator (SMS)

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Author Topic:   Texas A&M: Shuttle Motion Simulator (SMS)
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 30938
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-29-2011 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Retired shuttle simulator to 'fly' again at Texas A&M

NASA's long-running space shuttle program came to its end in 2011, but thanks to a recently signed agreement between the space agency and a Texas university, one of the winged spacecraft's iconic cockpits will continue to "fly."

The Shuttle Motion Simulator (SMS), which for more than three decades exposed astronauts to the sights, sounds, and motions they'd experience when they launched and landed on the real orbiters, is being moved 100 miles from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to Texas A&M University in College Station. Once there, the hydraulically maneuvered platform will resume work as a simulator...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30938
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-26-2013 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Texas A&M has now established a website for its installation of the Shuttle Mission Simulator.
Now that NASA's space shuttle program has ended, relics from the program's 40-year history are scattered across the United States. The Shuttle Mission Simulator, or SMS, will find a new home at Texas A&M University.

The simulator has trained 355 astronauts for 135 missions and will be the only large piece of equipment from the NASA space shuttle program that will remain in Texas. The Department of Aerospace Engineering is spearheading the effort to move the fully operational simulator to Texas A&M for researchers, the public and students of all ages to use for many years to come.

The simulator is expected to open to the public in summer 2013.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 30938
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-13-2014 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Texas A&M's student newspaper The Battalion filed an update on the shuttle motion simulator's status back in September. The university was expected to open the SMS for use in summer 2013, but has yet to unpack it, let alone assemble it.
Two years have passed since the SMS was delivered to College Station where it rests east of Highway 6 in Building 3400, said Elvis Dominguez, proctor for the building.

"It all requires a big chunk of power, and not what you get from a normal outlet," Dominguez said. "We are talking about $500 per linear foot."

Dominguez proctors the building voluntarily and in return uses the space to conduct research on nuclear reactors for A&M. However, when it is rebuilt, Martell said this building will not be the permanent resting place.

"We have not yet located the appropriate space large enough to hold this massive piece of machinery where the public can view it," Martell said.

When it was first acquired, it was estimated that it would cost $250,000 to $500,000 to refurbish and place the simulator. Donations to the Space Shuttle Simulator Fund can be made through giving.tamu.edu.

p51
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Posts: 1142
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 11-13-2014 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Funny, I served with someone in the Army who's now cadre at the Aggies' ROTC program and he's a minor space enthusiast. He told me when the sim first showed up there that'd be, "God alone knows when" it'd be uncrated and put together.

So, who'll get to pilot this sim if it's ever put back to working condition?

Such a shame, as I know several museums that I'd bet would've had it already running a long time ago if they'd gotten it instead...

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 30938
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-13-2014 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The plan was for both students and the public to have a chance to pilot the SMS, though the public might have been limited to just the launch or landing of STS-135 (Texas A&M collected additional multimedia assets, including video and audio from STS-135 crew runs in the SMS, in order to support such an exhibit).

Since September, there have been some rumors of it returning to Houston to be used as part of a private spaceflight training operation at Ellington Airport, though it would remain the property of the university.

sev8n
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Posts: 131
From: Dallas TX USA
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 11-13-2014 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As someone who worked in the flight simulation industry for decades, I can tell you there is much more to getting a sim up and running than just putting everything back together or providing the required power at $500/ft. Any motion-based simulator requires significant concrete anchor pads in the building foundation/slab. Such pads are typically engineered into the building foundation when it is built. Relocating a motion sim to another building would require substantial demolition, excavation and re-pouring of the structural floor under the motion sim. Not cheap, and a lot more than $500/ft.

p51
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Posts: 1142
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 11-13-2014 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ellington would be a perfect place for it, especially if the public got to fly it. I for one would gladly grab the two guys I just went to KSC with last month, go to Houston and run a mission profile in the thing, almost regardless of cost. The Aggies can keep the pink slip, but I for one dream of the day when I can hop into the left seat and start the checklists, wherever it is...
quote:
Originally posted by sev8n:
Not cheap, and a lot more than $500/ft.
I agree. I got to fly a USAF B-52 sim once and that thing was ridiculously anchored in place. I spent a while afterward marveling at how it was a part of the room in a similar manner to how a tree is part of the ground.

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