Tuesday, February 15, 2011

AMES NASATweetup–World’s Largest Vertical Motion Flight Simulator

I was recently invited to attend a NASATweetup at NASA’s Ames Research Facility. The event was great and provided some insight to some of the things NASA is doing at the Ames Research Facility. I probably didn’t take enough photos, but I thought I’d share some of the photos I took and provide some information of what NASA utilizes the facilities for.

One of the stops was the World’s Largest Vertical Motion Flight Simulator (VMS).

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The VMS is used to simulate a variety of vehicles from lunar landers to single engine air planes. Here’s a picture of the concept of the lunar lander cab upgrade concept.

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The VMS utilizes a couple of cabs with which they mock up the vehicle they want to model.

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We were lucky enough to get to go into the lunar lander cab and take a look. The tour guide for this facility said we could have tried it out, if we had more time. Unfortunately time was limited so we just got to see a preprogrammed routine working.

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Here’s the view from inside of the cab to the surface of the moon.

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Here’s a view of the monitor the pilot would use to land the lander.

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We then went to take a look at the VMS in action. Here’s a picture of the control room.

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There’s a window we looked out of to see the VMS in action. The VMS was modeling the Space Shuttle. Once or twice a year the shuttle astronauts come and train on the VMS. They do this to practice landings both regular and at the emergency locations.

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Here’s a picture of the 60’ long beam the cab operates on.The beam goes up and down.

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There are two columns or pistons that hold up the beam. The piston and beam is made neutrally buoyant using nitrogen under it. The nitrogen helps reduce the amount of energy required to move the VMS up and down.

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As well as going up and down the VMS operates in all the other motions. Up/Down, Forward/Backward, Tilting, etc.

We also got to meet a Hall of Fame Astronaut KAROL J. BOBKO.

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Across from the VMS was an older Flight Research building, with NASA’s previous name imprinted above the door.

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Along for the NASATweetup was the famous rubber chicken. Holding the rubber chicken is a person who worked on the Apollo Missions.

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