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.
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.
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 U.S. 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.
Click here to return to the Space Gallery.