September 29, 2012

We went to the Johnson Space Center open house. It was raining early, so there weren't too many people.

Video of some of the day's activities.

Our first stop was the Shuttle Avionics and Integration Laboratory in building 16. Here resides OV-95, a mock-up of the shuttle's electronics and cockpit.

We then went to building 30N, the Cristopher Kraft Mission Control Center. This photo is of one of the Shuttle mission control centers. It will likely be used for Orion.

The hallways of the Mission Control building are dripping with history.

The original mission control room, which among others, controlled Apollo and some Shuttle missions.

We then went to building 220, The Innovation and Technology Development Facility. Two of Alex's fingers are blue in this infrared image because he had just touched some ice they had there.

Morpheus engines that had issues.

Alex liked two vibration demonstrations that were set up.

Builing 222 is the Atmospheric Re-entry, Materials and Structures Evaluation building. This is a demonstration of the tile material that was used on the Shuttle. The person shown could hold the tiles by the corners quickly after removing a cube from the oven.

Shuttle tiles.

One of the arc-jets used for testing heat-resistant materials used for re-entry.

Building 9N, where International Space Station mockups, Robonaut, Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle mockups, the retired Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer, and other various hardware reside.

The International Space Station mockup. Astronauts and Cosmonauts from the U.S., Russia, the European Union and other nations, train here.

Inside the International Space Station (trainer mockup).

A Solar Alpha Rotary Joint. This is the contraption that helps the International Space Station turn its solar arrays to point toward the sun. This truss is about 35 feet high.

Orion mockup.

Building 32, the Space Environment Simulation Lab. This was the last day this building was going to be open to the public at an open house. NASA is starting construction of a clean room in front of this giant vacuum chamber. The James Webb Space Telescope will be moved into the clean room, taken out of its shipping container and placed into the vacuum chamber for a months-long environmental test.

"After both the telescope and the integrated instrument module are successfully assembled, the integrated instrument module will be installed onto the telescope, and the combined system will be sent to Johnson Space Flight Center (JSC) where it will be optically tested in JSC's largest vacuum chamber, which is being retrofitted for deep cryogenic operation. The process includes testing the 18 primary mirror segments acting as a single primary mirror, and testing the end-to-end system. The final system test will assure that the combined telescope and instruments are focused and aligned properly, and that the alignment, once in space, will be within the range of the actively controlled optics." -- from http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/faq_scientists.html

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