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This answer points out that the Space Shuttle's cabin atmosphere was designed to be equivalent to sea level air, in terms of both total pressure and oxygen partial pressure. However, could any of the Shuttle simulators emulate a different pressure or composition for the cabin atmosphere?

I'm specifically interested in Shuttle simulators (especially the ones described and pictured in this answer), not spacesuits (which have a different atmosphere that is explained in another question), nor general training facilities which have no resemblance to the Shuttle.

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    $\begingroup$ Shuttle, training. Who could answer this question? ;^) $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon May 22 at 21:07
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Sure...both nominal and off-nominal

Nominal - for shuttle-based EVAs the cabin was depressurized to 10.2 psi for the prebreathe. Both the Single System Trainers (SST) and the Shuttle Mission Simulators (SMS) supported this procedure. Here's the class description for the SST class from the Crew Training Catalog

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This shows the procedure in the timeline for STS-88

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From my console notes for when they did it for reals

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Off-nominal - we could leak the cabin or airlock in either the SSTs or SMS.

Here's the SST class description

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And here's a page from an SMS script where they did a Return to Launch Site abort for a cabin leak.

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Addressing the "composition" part, we could also leak O2 or N2 into the cabin in the SMS, fail the CO2 removal systems, or cause a cabin fire to dirty up the cabin atmosphere.

Note: All cabin atmosphere changes mentioned here took place only in the math models, not in the real-world simulator crew station. The toxic constituents readings resulting from the simulated fire were not even in the math models, they were given to the crew as 'green cards'.

Reference: personal notes

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm curious on the details of that last part. $\endgroup$ – ikrase May 24 at 2:48
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    $\begingroup$ I’m pretty sure I know which, but can you make explicit whether the actual air composition inside the simulator cabin was changed versus the simulation operating as if it was? ;) $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove May 24 at 3:35
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    $\begingroup$ And, good grief, that cabin leak RTLS sim seems designed to get a SimSup punched! $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove May 24 at 3:36
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    $\begingroup$ The first minute was free of malfunctions :) $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble May 24 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ @RussellBorogove edited per request. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble May 24 at 4:01

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