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Were there lights inside the Shuttle cargo bay, either to provide illumination when the doors were closed or to better illuminate cargo when the doors were opened?

Slightly related: Have optical zoom systems been used in space exploration?

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There were metal halide floodlights in the payload bay floor and one on the forward bulkhead pointing towards the bay.

Reference: http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/technology/sts-newsref/stsref-toc.html#sts-light-exterior

There were generic flight rules about use of the lights and flight-specific rules if the lights were blocked by payloads in the bay.

An example of flight-specific PLB light rules from the STS-88 Flight Requirements Document.

b. Payload Bay Light Constraints

  1. For bay-to-earth (+ZLV), biased nose-to-sun (-XSI), and biased tail-to- earth (+XLV) attitudes, operation of the forward and mid payload bay floodlights (PBFL) is unconstrained (PBFL 1 through 4 may be ON continuously) when either Node 1 is stowed in the bay or attached to the ODS. The aft PBFLs (PBFL 5 and 6) are constrained to be OFF when Node 1 is stowed in the bay, but unconstrained when Node 1 is attached to the ODS.

    1. In a bay-to-sun attitude (+ZSI), when Node 1 is stowed in bay the operation of PBFL 1 is unconstrained (may be ON continuously), PBFL 2 is constrained to operate no more than 110 minutes ON, followed by at least 30 minutes OFF, mid PBFLs (PBFL 3 and 4) are constrained to operate no more than 240 minutes ON, followed by at least 45 minutes OFF and the aft PBFLs (PBFL 5 and 6) are constrained to be OFF at all times.

    2. In a bay-to-sun attitude (+ZSI), when Node 1 is attached to the ODS, the operations of all PBFLs (PBFL 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) are unconstrained.

    3. While mated to the ISS, operations of all PBFLs (PBFL 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) is unconstrained.

    4. These PBFL operational constraints are based on PBFL system limitations. No payload constraints have been identified.

Here is a diagram of the PLB lights from the crew operations manual:

payload bay lights

Here is a video of the payload bay doors being opened during orbital night during STS-81. One of the forward PLBFLs is on, illuminating the scene.

https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/video/shuttle/sts-81/mpg/81d02c4.mpg

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit! $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 1 at 12:24

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