The Space Shuttle Exhibit featuring NASA's first Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (Photo courtesy of Rob Clements, Display Dynamics, Inc.)
The Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) is a high-fidelity representation of the orbiter crew station that was used primarily for on-orbit crew training and engineering evaluations. Here, astronauts learned how to operate many of the orbiter sub-systems in more than 20 different classes. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Astronaut Michael J. Bloomfield, STS-97 pilot, mans the pilot's station of a Crew Compartment Trainer in July 1999 during a training exercise at Johnson Space Center's Systems Integration Facility. (NASA photo)
Astronauts Donald R. McMonagle (left) and Curtis L. Brown man the commander's and pilot's stations, respectively, during a rehearsal of ascent and entry phases of their scheduled November 1994 flight aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. Three other NASA astronauts and a European mission specialist joined the two for this training exercise in the Crew Compartment Trainer at Johnson Space Center's Shuttle Mockup and Integration Laboratory in June 1994 and will join them aboard Atlantis in November. The flight is manifest to support the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS-3) mission. (NASA photo)
STS-29 crewmembers, wearing launch and entry suits, participate in exercises in the Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) in February 1989. Four crewmembers are pictured in the stations they will man for entry phase of the mission. They are joined by the fifth crewmember, "borrowed" from the mid deck. At forward controls are Pilot John E. Blaha (left) and Commander Michael L. Coats. Behind them are Mission Specialists James P. Bagian (left) and James F. Buchli. Mission Specialist Robert C. Springer stands at aft station. Springer will occupy Discovery's mid deck for entry phase of the flight while Bagian will occupy that post for launch. (NASA photo by Bill Bowers)
STS-26 Mission Specialist George D. Nelson trains in the Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) located in Johnson Space Center's Shuttle Mockup and Integration Laboratory in March 1988. Nelson, wearing a partial pressure suit and helmet, exits the CCT via a slide inflated at the side hatch. Technicians at the bottom of the slide prepare to help Nelson to his feet as a second set of technicians observe the activity from scaffolding on either side of the open hatch. (NASA photo)
Astronaut George D. Nelson, STS-26 mission specialist, is followed into the mid deck by an unidentified crewmember in the crew compartment trainer (CCT) in the Shuttle Mockup and Integration Laboratory during a March 10, 1988, crew station review. The crew donned new partial pressure suits to evaluate crew equipment and procedures related to emergency egress methods and proposed crew escape options. (NASA photo)
STS-34 crewmembers review inflight maintenance procedures on the mid deck of the Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) in July 1989. A trainer, holding the cable, discusses procedures with Mission Specialist Ellen S. Baker (center) and Pilot Michael J. McCulley. An open stowage locker appears in front of the group. Visible on the mockup's mid deck are forward and aft stowage lockers, the airlock hatch and the starboard wall-mounted sleep restraints. (NASA photo)
The Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer 1 (CCT-1) is one of three shuttle mockups used to train shuttle astronauts. In CCT-1, crewmembers learned and practiced many procedures for space missions.
CCT-1 is an important piece of space history. NASA trained astronauts in it from the first shuttle mission in 1981 to the end of the program in 2011.
About CCT-1 The Crew Compartment Trainer is a highly accurate space shuttle simulator. It was used for practicing on-orbit tasks, training for emergency escapes, and evaluating engineering issues. In CCT-1, astronauts learned how to operate the shuttle's many systems with the guidance of highly skilled instructors. CCT-1 could sit level or tilt straight up to simulate pre-launch operations.
On the CCT's top level is a very accurate "flight deck" or cockpit with seating for the commander, pilot, and, during launch, two mission specialist astronauts. The flight deck has all the same instruments, panels, lights, seats, and switches found in a real orbiter. The instruments are non-functional, but they look and feel like real ones. A closed-circuit TV system also aided training.
The lower part, or "mid-deck," replicates a main space shuttle living and working area. It features sleep stations, a galley, storage lockers, a bathroom, equipment stowage racks, and a side hatch. Emergency escape equipment such as an inflatable slide and an extendable pole used for parachuting away from the shuttle helped crews learn escape skills. Three mission specialists and one instructor could be seated in the CCT's mid-deck. More seats, a treadmill, and biomedical sensors could also be installed.
Rockwell International Corp. built CCT-1, modeled on the space shuttle Columbia, in 1979. More than 300 astronauts learned and practiced their skills in CCT-1 from missions STS-1 through STS-132. Several other simulators, including two other space shuttle mockups, trained astronauts at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Training Details Astronauts completed more than 20 classes in the CCT. Though many shuttle astronauts were experienced pilots, the shuttle was much more complex than an airplane. It had hundreds of switches, dials, buttons and instruments used in many different situations. Strapping in for launch and practicing escape were two of the most important CCT classes. One astronaut estimated he spent nearly 500 hours in CCT-1 training for just two space missions.
Air Force Connection The CCT highlights the long history of the US Air Force-NASA partnership. The Air Force provided a great deal of critical support to NASA during the space shuttle program, including supplying many crewmembers. During three decades of space shuttle operations, more than 75 Air Force members trained in CCT-1 as NASA astronauts. The Air Force provided many classified and unclassified payloads and experiments during the space shuttle era.
How it Got Here CCT-1 weighs over 23,000 pounds, or around 11 tons. This massive trainer was transported aboard the "Super Guppy," a specially modified airplane used for moving large and delicate equipment. Engineers built special fixtures to cradle the CCT inside the aircraft on its flight from Texas to Ohio. The CCT arrived at the museum in August 2012.
Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.