The Shuttle Mission Simulator

The Shuttle Mission Simulator The SMS was the only full mission capable flight simulator for the Space Shuttle Program. Every shu

A treasure trove of early SMS photos posted by Tom Connell on the Former Singer Linkers page

A treasure trove of early SMS photos posted by Tom Connell on the Former Singer Linkers page

Motion Base Dedication Event on 6/4 at the Lone Star Flight Museum!

Motion Base Dedication Event on 6/4 at the Lone Star Flight Museum!

The Motion Base has finally got a forever home at the Lone Star Flight Museum.

The Motion Base has finally got a forever home at the Lone Star Flight Museum.

A NASA space shuttle simulator that was used to prepare astronauts for the motion of the vehicle in flight has moved again, this time to enter its permanent new home. The Shuttle Mission Simulator-Motion Base arrived at the Lone Star Flight Museum.

The GNS, which had been at the Wings of Dreams Museum in Florida until it closed, was acquired by the team making the ne...

The GNS, which had been at the Wings of Dreams Museum in Florida until it closed, was acquired by the team making the new movie "Moonfall" for production. For a while, it was a new motion base, and they got the cockpit lit and the displays working well enough to film a movie. When they were done, it was donated to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona, where it is on display today.

Thanks for the writeup, Robert Pearlman!

In "Moonfall," director Roland Emmerich's new disaster film, a retired space shuttle plays a part in NASA's attempt to save Earth. In reality, though, it was the movie makers that came to the rescue, saving a real NASA simulator from an uncertain fate.

Writeup in Ars Technica on the current effort to fix up the Motion Base.

Writeup in Ars Technica on the current effort to fix up the Motion Base.

"We hope to have it in place at the museum in April."

Special Update from Carl Brainerd and the MB Restoration Team-===============================================Friends of ...

Special Update from Carl Brainerd and the MB Restoration Team-
Friends of the SMS,

Here's a "special edition" of the SMS news. The headline is that we've basically completed the interior restoration of the Motion Base! We are only working one little discrepancy on the interior- the lighted overlay around the panel F8 landing gear talkbacks is dimmer than all the others. This isn't critical, but we will look into it. The attached photos add up to a panorama of the Crew Station interior. It's looking good.

On the exterior, we only still need to finish neatening up the wiring between the electronics cabinet and the Crew Station. This should happen next week.

After that we will be ready to move to the NASA Aircraft Operations paint shop, which is going to paint all the exterior and the Crew Station floor aft of the seats. They can't take us until January, though, so it appears that by Thanksgiving the team will be on "vacation" for a little while. After the painting, we'll just need to re-install the visual projector amplifiers around the forward enclosure. Then it should be off to the museum.

So we are nearly "there" with the restoration. The team has done a great job. An estimated 4000 hours invested so far.....


Team Lead, MB Restoration


This memo from the Committee for the Preservation of the Space Shuttle Simulator gives some of the history of the Motion Base restoration project.

It also explains how individuals and/or corporations can donate to the Lone Star Flight Museum and earmark the contributions to be used for the Motion Base project.

The Motion Base is currently in JSC Building 49 being refurbished for display by a team of volunteers.

The Motion Base is currently in JSC Building 49 being refurbished for display by a team of volunteers.

I'm reposting Wayne Sweeney's video since some folks had trouble getting to it.

I'm reposting Wayne Sweeney's video since some folks had trouble getting to it.

This is the video I did of unloading and placing it in JSC building 49 ,the SMS Motion Base crew station which was delivered from Texas A&M this morning. Luc...

The Motion Base crew station and the instructor station consoles were successfully delivered to Building 49 today.The co...

The Motion Base crew station and the instructor station consoles were successfully delivered to Building 49 today.

The consoles still contain "historic relics" of food ops.

The first shipment from Texas A&M to JSC of Motion Base materials arrived yesterday. Today the volunteer team started "u...

The first shipment from Texas A&M to JSC of Motion Base materials arrived yesterday. Today the volunteer team started "unboxing". The crew station and the instructor station tables are planned to arrive tomorrow.

This is happening in Bldg 49 which has a very interesting history. I've driven by it 10,000 times but never knew what those twin towers were. Turns out it was a vibro-acoustic test facility for the Apollo command and service modules. Some of the giant horns are still installed in the walls.

Great news! The Motion Base is returning to Houston.From Carl Brainerd:Friends of the SMS,I am happy to report that afte...

Great news! The Motion Base is returning to Houston.

From Carl Brainerd:

Friends of the SMS,

I am happy to report that after 3 1/2 years of hoping, prodding, planning, etc. it looks like the Motion Base is finally, actually coming back to Houston, eventually to the Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM). LSFM has agreed to take it, under some defined conditions. The current custodian, Texas A&M University Aerospace Engineering Department (TAMU) plans to ship it out by the end of May! Here are some relevant facts-

LSMF has limited space, therefore the planned display is just a static display of the Crew Station without the motion platform, motion actuators, etc., i.e. it will be "on the floor" with a simple access platform. No computers will be displayed unless just one is selected as a sample. A conceptual sketch of the LSFM display is attached.
LSFM has no place to perform any reassembly work or refurbishment. Therefore, a working space on-site at JSC is being arranged through the Center Director's office. When the Crew Station is completely ready for display it would then be moved to LSFM and installed.
LSFM wants the Crew Station to be on wheels, so a provision for this must be made as part of the reassembly activity.
The display will have provision for audio from the crew training sessions that were recorded to be piped into the Crew Station, as well as playing outside the Crew Station in conjunction with the video presentation shown in the display concept.
Not shown in the concept is a small display case which hopefully can be added. Such a display case could hold small items such as Flight Data File material, the COAS, the swizzle stick, an MDU, a GPC, the MB Visitor Log (or a copy of it), kneeboards, and so on.

A fund-raising committee has been formed, jointly chaired by former JSC Center Directors George Abbey and Gerry Griffin. They have released a letter asking for donations to the cause (see attached). I'm not sure if it has actually been sent out yet, or to whom, but this is the intent. The letter includes information about how to contribute if you are moved to do so.

TAMU also has the Fixed Base computer cabinets and electronics (MDU, IDP, Visual Projectors, etc.), which were kept as spares for a possible Motion Base reactivation at TAMU. All these FB items are no longer needed for the MB project. The current custodian of the FB, the Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford, OK, naturally wants them. Also, the MB IOS consoles are available for Stafford since the MB display will not use them. This is all being coordinated. Stafford will come get their stuff as soon as arrangements can be finalized.

There are over 400 items of identified equipment at TAMU that previously had NASA property tags, plus many hundreds more in boxes that were untagged. There are about 180 such boxes, most of which are full of spare parts or documentation. Most can be excessed, but there are a few hidden "gems" in the boxes that need to be found and saved. I will be up at TAMU this weekend (April 17/18) along with Bonnie Dunbar, some TAMU staff, and some TAMU students sorting through it all and tagging stuff. We have already gone through a spreadsheet listing everything with dispositions, but this remains under review this week. We are trying to finalize it before the weekend. The remaining action is to actually find everything, put our hands on it, and tag it either to go to JSC, to Stafford, or to be excessed.

So, the message is that stuff is finally starting to happen now. I will follow up with a second note with some more detail addressed to those who previously indicated they wanted to help with the restoration.


Carl Brainerd

Part of an STS-27 standalone Deorbit Prep sim, probably summer 1988 in the Fixed Base.

Part of an STS-27 standalone Deorbit Prep sim, probably summer 1988 in the Fixed Base.

Footage of the STS-27 crew going over deorbit preparations in the mission simulator. Audio was enhanced to boost quieter voices. The crew goes over the deorb...

SMS pages from the 1980s "Singer-Link Coloring Book".  Recently posted in the "Former SInger Linkers" facebook group.

SMS pages from the 1980s "Singer-Link Coloring Book". Recently posted in the "Former SInger Linkers" facebook group.

See the earlier post for details. These are the entry videos from Carl Brainerd and entry script from Michael Grabois.He...

See the earlier post for details. These are the entry videos from Carl Brainerd and entry script from Michael Grabois.

Here are links to the videos and the script, and a cross-reference so you can know which run in the script to use.

Entry runs

Entry 1 full version
Entry 1 short version
Entry 3 full version
Entry 3 short version
Entry 4 full version
Entry 4 short version
Entry 5 full version
Entry 5 short version

Link to the entry script on the internet archive

Script/video cross reference: same run number is used in video and script

Shorter version of 1st entry run

Carl Brainerd (who has been working to get the Motion Base returned to Houston and displayed somewhere) wanted to share ...

Carl Brainerd (who has been working to get the Motion Base returned to Houston and displayed somewhere) wanted to share these amazing videos.

The videos are from ascent and entry integrated simulations with the STS-135 crew. These recordings captured out-the-window views, the flight instrument display, and selected system displays in the Shuttle cockpit. In addition, all crew conversation, air-to-ground communication, and simulator aural cues were captured. These recordings give a good idea of what went on in the Shuttle cockpit during busy phases of flight, especially in training sessions when numerous off-nominal “malfunction” scenarios were being worked by the flight crew and Mission Control.

In addition, STS-135 SMS Systems Instructor Michael Grabois has kindly provided the simulation scripts that were used during these training sessions. So while watching the videos, you can follow along in the script to get technical details of what is going on.

This is a remarkable inside look into an SMS integrated simulation.

Here are links to the videos and the script, and a cross-reference so you can know which run in the script to use.

Ascent 1 full version
Ascent 1 short version
Ascent 2 full version
Ascent 2 short version
Ascent 3
Ascent 4

Link to the ascent script on the internet archive

Script/video cross reference

Ascent 1 video ---> Ascent 3 Run 1 script
Ascent 2 video ---> Ascent 3 Run 4 script
Ascent 3 video ---> Ascent 3 Run 2 script
Ascent 4 video ---> Ascent 3 Run 3 script

1st run of integrated ascent training session with STS-135 crew

Via Lanie James, who visited the Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford OK in May. What used to be the Fixed Base is...

Via Lanie James, who visited the Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford OK in May. What used to be the Fixed Base is now on display there in a temporary exhibit (future plans include powering it up and providing backlighting and computer displays, and arranging it so visitors can walk between the two sections).

At least it’s on display, not locked up in a warehouse at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago (where the FB originally went, until they realized they didn’t have room for it) or still untouched in crates in bonded storage at Texas A&M (where the MB waits until someone figures out where it can go).

Well, JSC will at least have a couple of SSTs left. Au revoir, CCT-2.

Well, JSC will at least have a couple of SSTs left. Au revoir, CCT-2.

NASA's last space shuttle mockup still on its astronaut training room floor has landed a new educational mission in Oklahoma. The Tulsa Air and Space Museum announced that it will be taking possession of the full-size Crew Compartment Trainer-2 (CCT-2).

During the stand-down after 51-L some organization in STSOC handed out a folder called "Countdown to Reflight" and set o...

During the stand-down after 51-L some organization in STSOC handed out a folder called "Countdown to Reflight" and set out semi-regular updates on the progress towards launch.

The updates included overviews of the STSOC-staffed facilities and what they were doing toward reflight. The June 30, 1988 update included the SMS.

Note the projected launch date would slip another three weeks.

These are scans from an April/May 1984 Link Log which featured a profile of the SMS. The other big article was a writeup...

These are scans from an April/May 1984 Link Log which featured a profile of the SMS.

The other big article was a writeup about how there was no way Link's team was going to be on the losing side of the STSOC contract award. Oops.


Update #4 on the Motion Base situation from Carl Brainerd.

Friends of the SMS,

Here is yet another report on the painstakingly slow progress towards bringing the Motion Base simulator back to Houston.

There is not a lot of real progress to report, but here are some items of interest, good and bad-

Bonnie Dunbar continues to be engaged in the initiative. She is the official custodian of the MB at TAMU. TAMU wants to get rid of the MB, I presume because it is taking up storage space and they have no intention any more of doing anything with it. The problem is getting somebody to take it, given that it will take up space and cost some money.
Bonnie still has an open action to take this topic up with the Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM) board of directors. This is taking a very long time to happen, but I think she may be laying some groundwork behind the scenes with some of the board members.
Bad news- the LSFM CEO has been quoted as saying "no way" or words to that effect about the MB. He apparently only wants air-breathing aircraft in his museum, despite sitting in the middle of the JSC space community. So efforts to educate, inform, pressure, and coerce will need to continue. This sounds negative, but it was pointed out that the CEO works for the board, so he is presumably directable. So the board still needs to be convinced, and that appears to be the key goal.
Good news- Bonnie says she has spoken with the Houston Airport Authority and/or somebody with the future Houston Space Port, and they said they were interested. So maybe there is a possible "plan B" here. Bonnie has also said she has had an inquiry from Boeing, but beyond just that little tidbit I don't know any more. But I figure the more people talking about this the better....
I recently attended a luncheon at the LSFM with Bonnie at her table (side note- Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise was also at the table- a nice guy). We spoke to a couple of "mover & shaker" types after the luncheon, and they were very supportive. There was apparently no love lost between them and the LSFM management. The couple of folks we talked to seemed to be of the opinion that the board was mostly a bunch of high-roller River Oaks types who didn't know that much about aviation, and even less about space, and they also expressed the thought that the CEO "needed to go". This was all very interesting, but not of any immediate help to us.
Also at the luncheon, I met a representative from AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). AOPA may be able to help us at some time in the future to make contact with the Houston pilot community, for example if we get an on-line petition started. I can hardly believe it, but I've been an AOPA member for 50 years. Showing my age!
As noted in my last newsletter, I have been occupied working up a document for Bonnie that is a detailed look at the working concept for displaying the MB at LSFM, detailing the steps needed to put together the display, and providing a very rough estimate of the cost that might be incurred to put it all together. The beginnings of a high-level project plan, if you will. This document is attached for your reading enjoyment. It's a big file due to photos included and I haven't taken the time yet to resize them smaller. The cost estimate is a separate spreadsheet file, also attached. You'll see it is in the $40K range. Not much pedigree, truly a WAG, just a starting point for discussion.
I have also put together a single-sheet "tri-fold" brochure on this topic that can be handed out to people we are trying to solicit support from. I handed out several of them at that LSFM luncheon. Unfortunately, this brochure remains a work in progress, since it indicates that the primary thing folks can do right now is to sign an on-line petition, but we have not set one up yet (the petition web address given in the brochure is TBD). So consider this brochure just as a first draft. I've also attached this for your attention. While it may look like the order of the pages is all jumbled up, it makes more sense when it is folded the right way, into thirds. Then it opens like a book and hopefully flows in a logical order.
Speaking of an on-line petition, we do not have a "green light" from Bonnie yet on this. Both Will Stager and I have drafted wording for such a petition and provided our inputs to Bonnie. But, like I said, no go-ahead to proceed yet. Bonnie may want to work some more behind the scenes before we go public. So we're standing by on this one.

That's all the new information I could think of, and unfortunately not a lot of movement to report. All of the attached documents are works in progress and subject to change, but these are the current versions. As said previously, this is moving very slowly, if at all, but we'll keep plugging away at it. At this point, I don't know what is going to happen next.

Look at the shiny new SMS back in 1979! Only another 32 years of use before retirement.

Look at the shiny new SMS back in 1979! Only another 32 years of use before retirement.

Astronauts John W. Young, left, and Robert L. Crippen, crewmen for the first space transportation system (STS-1) Columbia mission, go over a check off list during simulations in the Johnson Space Center's shuttle mission simulator in the mission simulation and training facility. Young will be crew commander and Crippen, pilot, for the mission-shuttle's initial orbital flight test (OFT). 5 April 1979

I know this has been asked before, but I can't find it in the archives. Anyone know what this simulator was? This is Nic...

I know this has been asked before, but I can't find it in the archives. Anyone know what this simulator was? This is Nichelle Nichols in March 1977.


I have no idea what the provenence of this video is, but approximately the last half of it is the Teacher in Space people in Building 5. Unfortunately there is no audio for that part. The first part shows the crew doing PDRS training in ?Bldg 16? and has audio.

RIP 51-L crew and Challenger.


Carl Brainerd's Update #3 on bringing the Motion Base back to Houston

Friends of the SMS,

Here's another info dump on this long, slow road towards getting the Motion Base back in Houston....

Recall that Bonnie Dunbar (former astronaut, Texas A&M Professor, Lone Star Flight Museum Director) is a prime mover on the effort to transfer the Motion Base back to Houston for display at the Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM) at Ellington. I had a meeting with Bonnie last week, and have the following information to share.

Bonnie is now the official custodian of the MB at A&M. It is now known that A&M does want to transfer the artifact, and that they will provide transport (as they provided going the other way back in 2012). But the transfer can't happen until LSFM agrees to receive it and take it on. Getting this agreement is the focus of the "project" right now. By the way, Bonnie indicates that she is "determined" to make this transfer happen.

One of the LSFM lead docents is Will Stager, who worked on the SMS during its early years during and after its initial delivery. Will is also involved in the project now from the LSFM end, and you'll see his name on the distribution list. Will has some well-placed NASA contacts, which may come in handy.

Bonnie discussed this topic with the LSFM Executive Committee a couple of weeks ago as a prelude to an eventual presentation to the whole Board of Directors. They didn't say "no", but did not yet say "yes" either. Bonnie has the action to get back to the Executive Committee in January with a "Business Case" for acquiring the simulator, i.e. making a case as to why the museum should spend money on this. Naturally, such a business case will boil down to the fact that there are thousands of ex-Shuttle workers in the Clear Lake area, not to mention hundreds of former workers who had direct contact with the SMS, all of which may welcome the return of the MB by actually visiting the museum and paying the admission charge (or maybe becoming members!). The museum is on a very tight budget right now, so as the saying goes, "Money talks". Various avenues which may be pursued could include-

An on-line petition to gauge interest (if this happens I'll definitely forward the link)
The possibility of crowd-funding some of the expense
Recruiting high-level NASA management support
Getting the astronaut office and former astronauts to "push" the idea
Approaching the NASA contractor community for support
Approaching L3, where the remnants of the original SMS builder (Link Flight Simulation) are today

As far as the technical side of a potential display goes, the current concept to be described to the LSFM board is expected to go something like this-

Bonnie has identified a spot for the display in one of the museum's hangers. It would be "back in the corner" or against the "back wall" away from the hanger doors, so as not to impede the movement of aircraft in and out of the hanger
The Crew Station would be displayed similar to the way that the nose section of an aircraft would be displayed. This means the basic crew station would be there, but without the motion platform or motion legs. It would be as close to the floor as possible to make it as easy as possible to provide for visitor access via a newly-built access platform which would only need to be something like 3-4 feet tall. Museums are adverse to long stairs or ladders. Being low should also enable a handicap ramp to be included. I'm sure we would all like to see the whole system reassembled with the legs, motion platform, lift platform, etc., but due to the logistical challenges that is not in the LSFM concept today.
Some, but not all, of the ancillary equipment would probably be displayed. Bonnie mentioned maybe one of the Instructor Station consoles. I would push for including the SID, with the side panel doors replaced with Plexiglas. Maybe one of the SGIs? This part of the concept is mostly TBD at this point, and may be dependent on the space available.
The initial Crew Station display would be static, i.e. there would not be an attempt to show live video in the windows or on replacement MDUs to animate the Crew station (remember those funding constraints.....). However, I think the option to animate the Crew Station at some time in the future needs to be kept open, i.e. don't do anything that would preclude it.
I do plan, however, to recommend that recorded training session audio be piped into the Crew Station to give it some "life". This would be easy and straight-forward, and we have the necessary recordings already available and ready to use.
Bonnie is receptive to the idea of an open-sided room next to the simulator where large-screen TVs or other monitors can be arranged in a flight-like configuration to show the recorded training session videos of the window views and the MDU displays. I have sketched up a conceptual plan for this, sized to used 65" TVs for the window videos and 19" monitors for each MDU. So the displays would be larger than life, making them easier for visitors to watch outside the confines of the Crew Station. Again, we have these training session videos looking for a place to be displayed. LSFM has a program called "Flight Experience" whereby they sell rides in some of the aircraft (I think I hear one of them overhead right now as I write this). I'd propose that this room be called the "Shuttle Flight Experience" to tie it in with the museum's other flight programs, except with a simulator you don't have to leave the ground (the whole reason for simulators!).
A glass display case may be used to display the Flight Data File and the Motion Base Visitor Log if it can be made available.
If space permits, we could consider displaying a spare MDU, a spare GPC, etc. in the glass case, and perhaps one of the motion legs (outside the glass case, of course)
Posters and other media explaining the role of the SMS and simulators in general would be put up in the area

That's the current state of the concept. Currently, I have started to work up a writeup describing the above concepts in proposal or project plan style to integrate with other parts of the Business Case that Bonnie may come up with. Bonnie has her work cut out for her on this one. It seems that most of the LSFM board consists of business executives from Houston who know little or nothing about the space program. Her initial briefing was met with remarks like "but it's a spacecraft, not an airplane", so Bonnie has to start at ground zero and explain how the Shuttle is not only an airplane but was one of the most advanced aircraft ever built.

So that's how it's going..... Slowly at first with baby steps, but still moving forward a little bit.

October 1, 2018. It’s basically an empty field at this point.

October 1, 2018. It’s basically an empty field at this point.

Article emailed to me by someone who still works on site.Rubbernecking Building 35’s demolitionSeptember 28, 2018Buildin...

Article emailed to me by someone who still works on site.

Rubbernecking Building 35’s demolition
September 28, 2018

Building 35 may have bitten the dust recently, but its demise is all part of a bigger picture.

Rubberneck images of its destruction, below, which took place from Sept. 6 to 14.

Image Credits: NASA/Norah Moran

In the near term, NASA Johnson Space Center’s whitetail deer population is the real winner here. The space that used to occupy Building 35 will return back to nature in the form of green space with some trees.

But there’s more to come.

“Additional buildings aligned with our recently approved master plan will be demolished,” said Joel Walker, Johnson’s director of Center Operations. “We are in the process of making the plan available for employee viewing via an internal website. Any building that is demolished is carefully reviewed for historic significance and goes through outside review for approval, in particular, through the State Historic Preservation Officer and other federal offices.”

A building with a mission (or many of them)
Building 35, known in its heyday as the Mission Simulation Development Facility, was conceptualized in the 1960s for the Apollo Program and designed to support the development and use of crew-training simulators. Building 35, in concert with Building 5, the Jake Garn Mission Simulator and Training Facility, prepared astronaut crews and ground controllers for launch, landing and flight operations, ensuring the success of NASA’s human space exploration missions.

During shuttle, Building 35 housed a one of two Guidance and Navigation Simulators (GNS) located at Johnson. The GNS was a fixed-base simulator comprised of a full-scale replica of the orbiter’s flight deck and a sub-scale replica of the mid-deck. For training, Building 35’s GNS was considered a backup, and it was used for roughly 25 percent of astronaut training sessions.

The history of Building 35 runs deep, reaching from Apollo (1961-1972) to the Apollo Soyuz Test Project (1971-1975) to the Space Shuttle Program (1981-2011) to, finally, Shuttle-Mir (1993-1998). In addition, many astronauts with national name recognition, like Thomas Stafford, Deke Slayton and Sally Ride, all worked and trained in the building.

NASA’s illustrious history—60 years in the making—lives on today in new projects and programs that operate out of different buildings across campus.

Prime crew commanders for the joint U.S.-USSR Apollo-Soyuz Test Project take a break from busy simulations at NASA's Johnson Space Center to enjoy a lighter moment. Cosmonaut Aleksey A. Leonov sticks his head through the Soyuz orbital module mock-up in Building 35, while his American counterpart, astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, looks on. Image Credit: NASA

Now just a pile of rubble.

Now just a pile of rubble.

All gone. Adios Building 35.Sept 10, 2018

All gone. Adios Building 35.
Sept 10, 2018


The deconstruction of Bldg 35 continues. Adios to the high bay.


Buildings 5 And 35
Houston, TX



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Friends of the SMS,

The long fight for saving the Motion Base simulator is reaching its conclusion. On Saturday June 4 there will be a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the MB at the Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington Field. There will also be a transfer of ownership from Texas A&M to Lone Star Flight Museum. On that day the museum will have a special deal going in honor of the MB joining the museum's permanent displays. All day on June 4 general admission will be only $5, and the following folks can get in free if they're displaying one of these badges-

Jacobs Engineering
Boeing Co.
Association of Space Explorers
NASA Retirees, NASA Alumni League
Texas A&M Faculty, Staff, & Alumni with badge
Texas A&M Students with ID card

The simulator will, of course, be open and on display. The official ceremonies will be at 4:00 PM, but everybody is welcome any time during the day. I hope everybody can come out and give a strong showing of support for the MB display (and perhaps NASA in general). Let's see if we can get a crowd around it all day!

See you there,

Carl Brainerd
Team Lead, SMS Motion Base Restoration
Here are a couple of photos of the Motion Base now on display at the Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington. These pics were taken during a special event (Texas Aviation Hall of Fame) when the hanger lights were turned down and special accent lighting was in place. A little more dramatic-looking than the usual lighting. A number of people at the event took a look.
Friends of the SMS,
We are rapidly approaching the culmination of the MB restoration project. The base is at the NASA paint shop for painting of the cab exterior and the interior floor. They expect to finish painting tomorrow (4/8). Tentatively, the plan is to roll the simulator over to the Lone Star Flight Museum via the Ellington taxiways Tuesday morning (4/12) around 10:00. Early that morning the museum will shuffle some aircraft around to clear the space for the simulator.
Once the simulator is in place, the restoration team has some work to do unsecuring the electrical cables and hooking them back up to the electronics cabinet. Then we'll plug it in, turn it on, and light it up. I expect we'll also set the cockpit switches for entry at that time, our chosen display configuration.
New display cases are expected to be ready next week to house small artifacts like a GPC, an MDU, Flight Data File items, the swizzle stick, a COAS, and a number of other things. We hope to have this stuff in place by Tuesday.

The museum is planning an informal "open house" from 4-6PM Tuesday afternoon (4/12) to give everybody a chance to come by and take a look. I presume that means no admission charge for that period. A more formal dedication ceremony is tentatively planned for some time in May.

We also did some refurbishment of the access stairs over the last few days. We installed wheels, cleaned the carpet, removed old tape from the step edges, installed new safety tape, and touched up a number of scratches and dings.
If all goes according to plan, I hope to see a bunch of you at the museum Tuesday afternoon!
Here are a couple of pictures I took back in October of the GNS Crew Station out at Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ.
The Crew Station and Instructor consoles were delivered today. I video taped it, edited this evening and placing it in You tube on my page.The Link is
Friends of the SMS,

It's time for another update on the recovery of the SMS/MB simulator from Texas A&M (TAMU) to Houston.

Things are moving ahead. The Fixed Base (FB) computer cabinets currently at TAMU are expected to be shipped to the Stafford Air & Space Museum in Oklahoma within the next week or so. NASA is in the process of clearing out and preparing space in JSC Building 49 for the reassembly and restoration of the MB Crew Station. There is a target date of the end of May for having this space ready, but it remains to be seen if NASA can make it by then. But in any case it should be getting close. When the space is ready, the MB should get shipped to Houston soon afterwards. Upon arrival there may be a media event with the JSC Center Director.

Final reviews and audits of the property lists are in progress at TAMU, both for Stafford and for Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM), the planned ultimate recipient of the MB. The last sticking point in this process is the disposition of the SID cabinets and the GPC computers within them. Stafford wants the FB SID. The MB SID and the SID Testbed are excess. However, NASA does not want the GPCs simply flowing into the government excess property system. So NASA intends to retain the GPCs. However, both Stafford and LSFM want a GPC for display in a display case. Exactly how all this will affect the shipment of the FB SID to Stafford, and whether the museums can receive their GPCs for display, remain under review.

Three former Instructor/Operator Station consoles will be coming to Houston. One is expected to become part of the MB display, and the other two will go to LSFM for them to use in some other way.

A volunteer team of 12 is standing by to work on the MB when it arrives in Houston. The major tasks involved in getting it ready for display at LSFM are the following-

Define and procure new power supplies for the Crew Station lighting, and hook them up.
If practical, replace light bulbs in the Crew Station with LEDs.
Reactivate the Crew Station lighting.
Reassemble/install the Crew Station panels, Pilot seat, hand controller, MS seats, etc.
Reinstall MDUs and make photo prints to place on the displays.
Remove cables from the Crew Station.
Provide a mobile platform for the Crew Station to sit on.
Manufacture a mobile access platform providing access to the Crew Station entry door.
Remove protective wrapping and tape from the Crew Station exterior.
Restore exterior if needed.
Reinstall the forward visual video projector amplifier boxes.
Sort through all the parts and documentation in boxes to determine what to keep and what to excess.
Set up the Crew Station "outfitting" i.e. comm headsets, Flight Data File, cue cards, checklists, kneeboards, etc.
Finalize requirements for an audio/video presentation system and procure the system.
Build/edit videos as needed for the audio/video system.
Get a Plexiglas barrier fitted into the Crew Station.
Define requirements for a display case and get it built and populated.
Move it all to LSFM.

That's the big picture of what's going on and what's coming. Finally, one other thing happening is fund-raising to cover the expenses of this effort. LSFM can only take the simulator if it does not cost them anything. Therefore, former JSC Center Directors George Abbey and Gerry Griffin have collaborated on a fund-raising letter, which is attached. It's four pages, so look for four images. Against a goal of $75K, some $45K has already been collected, mostly from corporate sponsors, I believe. If any of you should be motivated to help out, the details are in the letter.
Friends of the SMS,

Things are starting to move much more rapidly on the relocation of the Motion Base. Here's the latest.

This past weekend there was a work session at the MB storage facility at TAMU. Participants were-

Bonnie Dunbar, TAMU professor, former astronaut, and the official custodian of the MB
Larkin O'Hern, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Director of the Texas A&M Experiment Station, and apparently our direct link to upper management at TAMU. Larkin has been to the Army Ranger school, and likes to climb things. We put that to good use, as he climbed up on top of all of the high (15'?) shelving to inspect items stored there, read off serial numbers, and affix tags, etc. Ladder access to some shelves was blocked by stuff on the floor.
A couple of "muscle guys" from the moving company, on Saturday only.

The objective of the work session was to inspect and inventory everything and then to affix "tags" to everything showing its disposition, i.e. ship to Houston for the Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM), ship to the Stafford Air & Space Museum in Oklahoma, or Excess. The "tags" were not anything fancy, just colored strips of duct tape, with the three destinations color-coded. For those dying of curiosity, LSFM was Blue (NASA blue?), Stafford was yellow, and red was for excess. You can see this in the photos.

We had the original NASA inventory listing that was sent to TAMU as part of the Space Act Agreement. It was a PDF copy of a spreadsheet. I had a friend who could have Adobe Acrobat convert it back to Excel (thank goodness!), so took advantage of that. I did learn that such conversion results in numerous "funny" text conversions. Apparently the character recognition in Acrobat is far from perfect. So I spent some time with the resulting Excel file cleaning up all the typos I could find. Some serial numbers got scrambled, too. For example, distinguishing between "8" and "B" was apparently too much for the software. Anyway, we had a pretty usable inventory listing when the dust settled. That inventory only contained things that had previously had NASA property tag numbers. A lot of other stuff existed, too (like spare parts), and TAMU had done a previous inventory of the boxes containing that stuff. It also existed only on paper, so several hundred boxes were entered into our spreadsheet by hand to try to get a complete inventory in one place. So it was a good exercise, if labor-intensive. This was all done before the work session.

Then we started going through everything last Saturday and Sunday. Our objective was to "touch" everything, compare it to the inventory, assign a destination, and annotate the inventory indicating that we had "touched" it and to indicate the destination with that color-coded duct tape. Over two long work days we got through pretty much everything. We opened a majority of the boxes for inspection, because we found that some boxes contained "hidden treasures". For example, more than one box was found to contain spare lighted crew station panel overlays. There were a lot of spare Crew Station switches, talkbacks, circuit breakers, etc. Another example is the crew "swizzle stick" used for reaching hard-to-reach switches and circuit breakers. We wanted to find it, as it is destined for a display case. We did finally find it in one of the boxes along with a bunch of other stuff. We all knew this device as the swizzle stick, but the search was complicated by the fact that the inventory did not call it that. It was officially labeled as an "Auxiliary Reach Mechanism". And so it went.

A few other notes of interest about the work session-

There were three IOS consoles in the inventory from NASA, but we actually found four. We have two long ones, one short one, and the rounded Team Lead console. We are keeping the three "straight" consoles for use as work tables during the restoration, after which they will go to Lone Star (LSFM) for use as they see fit (not part of the MB exhibit due to space limitations).
The MEDS Display Units (MDUs) were of primary interest. We needed a complete ship-set for the MB and also needed a complete ship-set for the FB at the Stafford museum. All of them were stored up on top of 15' high shelving. A couple were packed in those fancy grey shipping containers, but most were just in a wooden crate up on a shelf that we could not reach with a ladder. One of the attached photos shows Larkin up there after climbing the shelving structure like a mountain climber. He read off the serial numbers to me down on the floor so we could verify the inventory. Surprisingly, we never found two MDUs that were listed in the NASA inventory. On the other hand, we did find three others that were not listed in the NASA inventory. In the end we did find enough MDUs to populate both the MB and FB and also to have a couple left over to put in display cases.
Another critical item we wanted to verify was the forward Crew Station panels (i.e. F6, F7, F8, etc.), as without them we would not have a display. We looked and looked for them without success. I was getting pretty worried. Then, late in the day on Sunday, we realized that the big box in the middle of the floor that we had been using as a work table had never been opened. It was the last box! Wouldn't you know, those panels were in that box! Then all was right with the world.
Another critical item was the HUDs. We did find both of them.
We also knew we needed six of those black Amplifier/Control Unit boxes that attach to the outside front of the MB enclosure and connect to the forward visual projectors with large black cables. Just for cosmetic restoration, not for operation. We found some of them scattered everywhere in individual boxes, and six of them in a big cardboard box up on the same 15' high shelf the MDUs were on. This box is to the left of Larkin in that photo showing him up near the ceiling on that shelving. These six still had their cables attached, while a bunch of the others did not have their cables. So the six up on the shelf were assigned for transport to Houston.
Hand controllers were also a target of special attention. It took a while, but we finally found one RHC nicely packed in a white shipping container. We looked everywhere for the second RHC and the THC without success. Then it dawned on us that they were probably still installed in the Crew Station, since only the Pilot seat had been removed. Sure enough, the other controllers were still installed. So the hand controller inventory was verified complete.
During the weekend, it was decided that LSFM wanted the former IOS flat panel LCD displays and the associated four-head display trees. So we tried to find them and disposition them accordingly. They were scattered in a number of boxes, as there were quite a few of them. We'll sort them out once they arrive in Houston.
TAMU had attempted to segregate the Fixed Base items from the Motion Base items, and had put the FB items in a separate room. The separation was found to not be perfect. One half of the FB SID was found among the MB computer cabinets, verified by checking the serial numbers of the GPCs inside. A lot of cardboard boxes were found in the FB room that turned out to be full of SID spares. We tagged these for excess so they wouldn't accidentally get shipped to Stafford.
There is an open question as to whether Stafford wants the SID Testbed in addition to the FB SID. This question has been posed to them and we are awaiting their answer.
We did tag the SID cabinets so we would know which was which, again after checking the GPC serial numbers.
There were crates holding visual projectors in the FB room, too. Stafford does not have the visual structures that would support those projectors, so they don't have any need for them. So the projectors other than the six installed on the MB were tagged for excess.
There are a LOT of headsets, headset cables, and headset interface units in a number of boxes (both for crew use and for the IOS). Bonnie decided she wanted all of them sent to Houston for possible use by LSFM, independent of the MB display. Of course, a couple of headsets will be set aside for the MB Crew Station display, and a couple more for the display case. We will sort that out in Houston.
I had one of the MB electronic equipment racks tagged to come to Houston. This is just in case we find ourselves wishing we had an electronic equipment rack to hold stuff like perhaps a master power panel, or new power supplies for the Crew Station lighting, or a Blu-Ray player for the audio/video display, etc. I selected a cabinet that had wheels and not much stuff already in it. I don't know which cabinet it is, since that didn't matter.
I've attached several photos showing the storage facility as we left it Sunday. You can see there are lots of boxes everywhere and lots of stuff up on those shelves. Those high shelves are really way up there. Hopefully everything has a piece colored duct tape on it to indicate disposition.
Finally, one of the photos shows some sort of panel with electrical connectors being held up for the photo. We were unable to identify this panel. I had never seen it before. It was in a big box labeled "Pilot Floor" along with a bunch of other stuff, including one of the eyebrow panels. Can any of you identify this panel? My best guess is that it may go under the PLT seat for connection of the hand controller cabling and the seat motor wiring, but since I've not seen it before it was only a guess. Connector labels were hand-done, so it was not a panel that the crew would have seen. Anybody?

In other news, JSC is working to identify a space where the MB simulator can be parked while it gets put back together for display. They have a space in mind, and they sent a floor plan of the space for review. Details of how big the roll-up door needs to be are in work. They didn't tell us how big the door actually is.

I understood that TAMU is giving priority to getting the FB stuff moved to Oklahoma. The Stafford museum says they are ready to come get it, and are in discussion with their trucking company. So they seem ready to go. There is still a goal of moving the MB by the end of May, but first the space at JSC needs to be confirmed. In addition, at JSC they may need to do some facility work first to put in utility power, etc. But the wheels are turning.....

That's pretty much the news..... All for now,