8

There was a Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) performed late in the training flow for each mission in which the crew would fly out to Florida where their Orbiter was stacked on the pad. This constituted a full-up simulation of the countdown with the firing rooms staffed. Intrusive/extra-expensive activities weren't done - no fluids were actually ...


6

Note: there were a lot of training simulators. This answer concentrates on the Shuttle Mission Simulators. There were mockup type simulators like the Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) that replicated the crew module interior very well. They weren't computer-driven though - most of the switches did nothing. Here's the CCT set up in a museum. Image source ...


5

There were three attach points. The forward bipod that you show in your answer, and two aft attach points. At each attach point a large explosive bolt held the tank and Orbiter together. Large umbilical door openings in the aft of the Orbiter let the aft bolts pass through and also had all the fluid and electrical connections. After separation tile-covered ...


4

For birds, NASA deployed its heavy weaponry - propane cannons. A series of 25 liquid propane cannons, placed in strategic locations along the east and west sides of the SLF runway, are controlled by air traffic controllers in the tower and remotely by bird-watchers in the field. These cannons, installed in September 2007, are fired randomly by ...


3

Based on photos I have seen, the image you have, is the oddity? Looking at other photos of Enterprise as it separates from the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) the gear is closed. Video of ALT-1 (one of the approach and landing tests) is online and shows no gear visible at separation, and a normal gear deployment late on approach. All the rest I found are ...


3

Horizontal isn't too complicated. The crew enters through the side hatch. The pilot and commander go in first and climb up the flight deck access ladder through the port inter-deck access hole. Then the back seaters on the flight deck. Finally those seated in the middeck. This picture from the SODB Volume IV (not online but on the to-be-scanned list) is ...


3

This graph shows the "base force" which is a force produced by pressure differential due to propulsion plume effects acting on the vehicle. This effect was poorly predicted in tests and calculations prior to the first mission and resulted in STS-1 lofting quite a bit more than expected in first stage. Columbia went through maximum dynamic pressure (606 ...


2

Aside from the TCDT described in @OrganicMarble's answer the only other test I am aware of where the crew used the actual vehicle during testing was for their flight Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) at the cape. The CEIT would take place at the Orbiter Processing Facility where the vehicle was being readied before being moved to the Vehicle Assembly ...


1

It's actually much easier for the crew to enter the vehicle and sit down when horizontal than when the vehicle is stacked and in the vertical position (no climbing up over the MS1/2 seats to reach the commander and pilot seats). For the CEIT the logistics are quite simple. In the OPF then have movable platforms with staircases (similar to what you use to ...


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