d. While in orbit, the crew performs scientific experiments, launches satellites, constructs the ISS, and if required, recovers, repairs or services satellites already in orbit.
e. At the completion of the mission, the OMS engines are fired to reduce the orbiter's speed for reentry to the earth’s atmosphere. Frequently, the first indication ground observers have that the orbiter is in the landing pattern is a unique double sonic boom. Measured noise levels of orbiter reentry/landing average 2 pounds per square foot, with 2.216 lbs/sq ft being the highest recorded. This equates to slamming a car door with the windows closed. The orbiter lands at an approximate speed of 195 KTS. See Fig. W-8.
4. Crew Station Configuration. The orbiter crew station module is a three-section pressurized working, living, and stowage compartment in the forward portion of the vehicle and consists of the flight deck, mid-deck, equipment bay, and airlock. See Fig. W-9.
a. Flight Deck. The flight deck contains the displays and controls (D&C) used to pilot, monitor, and control the integrated Space Shuttle vehicle, the orbiter vehicle, and mission payloads. The flight deck also contains seating for four crew members. See Fig. W-10.
(1) The forward flight deck contains the commander and pilot stations with the D&C necessary to monitor, command, and control the orbiter and orbiter systems during normal and contingency operations. Operational seats provide comfortable support during vertical launch, horizontal and orbital flight, and landing. The seats also have allowances for stowage of numerous in-flight and emergency equipment items.
(2) The aft portion of the flight deck accommodates the mission specialist (MS) and payload specialist (PS) stations as well as the payload handling and vehicle (docking) control stations. The remote manipulator system (RMS) is also controlled from this station. Two removable seats are also provided for crew members.
(3) The MS station contains orbiter and payload-unique D&C required to manage the orbiter-to-payload interfaces and payload subsystems that are critical to the safety of the orbiter, as well as non-flight critical orbiter subsystems and housekeeping functions that do not require immediate access or attention.
(4) The PS station incorporates provisions for the installation of payload-unique D&C required for monitoring and operating various payloads.
(5) External viewing is provided on the flight deck by six forward, two aft, and two overhead redundant pressure pane viewing windows.
(6) The left overhead observation window on the flight deck can be jettisoned for emergency egress by the flight crew or ingress by ground rescue personnel.
b. Mid-deck. The mid-deck contains in-flight provisions and stowage facilities as well as crew sleep stations and seating for up to three additional crew members. Also included are the waste management system and personal hygiene station.
(1) Access to the mid-deck from the flight deck is through two 26 by 28 inch inter-deck access openings and, from the exterior, the orbiter side hatch. A ladder attached to the port inter-deck access allows for easy ground ingress/egress by the flight crew and ground crew from the mid-deck to the flight deck or vice versa. The airlock allows ingress/egress to/from the payload bay. Controls to blow the side hatch for a bailout or emergency ground egress are located on the mid-deck. A telescoping bailout pole is located above the side hatch and would be used during an emergency requiring crew bailout.
(2) Beneath the mid-deck, an equipment bay contains the environmental control and life support systems, as well as additional stowage space.
c. Airlock. The airlock's primary use is to eliminate the necessity for crew/cabin decompression for extravehicular activity (EVA) and to provide for the transfer of crewmembers between the crew station, ISS, and laboratory modules or payload bay.
(1) The airlock is basically a modular structure that has an inside diameter of 63 inches and is 83 inches long and has two 40 inch diameter, D-shaped hatches.
(2) When Spacelab is installed in the orbiter payload bay, a second exterior airlock is installed to provide an EVA egress route.
Figure W-8 Reentry/Landing Sequence
Figure W-9 Crew Station Module
Figure W-10 Flight Deck
5. Crew Complement. The orbiter crew consists of the commander and pilot. Mission specialists and payload specialists make up the additional crew members needed for orbiter and payload operations. The commander and a pilot, or pilot-qualified mission specialist, are needed to operate and manage the orbiter. The make up of the rest of the crew depends on mission requirements, complexity, and duration. The detailed responsibilities of the specialist are tailored to meet the requirements of each individual flight. Crew members work up to 12 hour days. The commander, pilot, and mission specialist are NASA astronauts and are assigned by NASA. Payload specialists are nominated by the payload sponsor and, if not a NASA astronaut, certified for flight by NASA.
a. The commander is responsible for the safety of the crew and has authority throughout the flight to deviate from the flight plan, procedures, and assignments as necessary to preserve crew safety or vehicle integrity. The commander is also responsible for the overall execution of the flight plan in compliance with NASA policy, mission rules, and Mission Control Center directives.
b. The pilot is second in command of the flight and assists the commander in conduct of all phases of orbiter flight and is given delegated responsibilities (e.g., during two-shift orbital operations) as the mission situation dictates.
c. The mission specialist coordinates payload operations and is responsible to the user for carrying out scientific objectives. The mission specialist will resolve conflicts between payloads and will approve flight plan changes caused by payload equipment failures. He or she may also operate experiments to which no payload specialist is assigned or may assist as required. During launch and recovery, the mission specialist monitors and controls the payload for vehicle safety.
d. The payload specialist manages and operates experiments or other payloads assigned to him or her and may resolve conflicts between users' payloads and approve flight plan changes caused by equipment failures. The payload specialist will be cross-trained as necessary to assist other crew members in payload or experiment operation, and will also operate certain orbiter systems, such as hatch, food, and hygiene systems.
e. The responsibility for on-orbit management of orbiter systems, attached payload support systems, extravehicular activity and payload manipulation with the remote manipulator system rests with the basic crew because extensive training is required for the safe and efficient operation of these systems. In general, the commander and pilot will manage orbiter systems and standard payload support systems, while the mission specialist and payload specialist will manage payload support systems that are mission dependent and have an extensive interface with the payload.