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NASA’s first Crew Compartment Trainer arrives at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

8/22/2012

DAYTON, Ohio — NASA's first Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT-1) arrived on NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft today at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The crew module of the trainer consists of a flight deck and a mid-deck, and contains components, such as panels, seats and lights, visible to or used by the flight crew. Non-functional switches, connections, guards and protective devices all have the same physical characteristics, operating force, torque and movement as a real space shuttle.

For more than 30 years, CCT-1 was housed in Johnson Space Center’s Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF) and was used to train crews from STS-1 through STS-132 as a high-fidelity representation of the Space Shuttle Orbiter crew station for on-orbit crew training and engineering evaluations. Here, astronauts learned how to operate many of the orbiter sub-systems in more than 20 different classes.

According to Museum Director Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jack Hudson, CCT-1 is a significant addition to the museum.

“Today is a great day for the Air Force as we take another step forward in illustrating the rich history of the Air Force’s space programs and vital Air Force, NASA and aerospace industry partnerships,” said Hudson. “CCT-1 will be a very popular exhibit and provide exciting hands-on educational opportunities for children and adults of all ages.”

Once the trainer is off-loaded from the Super Guppy aircraft by the 87th Aerial Port Squadron, NASA Loadmasters and Museum Restoration Specialists, it will be moved inside the Cold War Gallery where museum and NASA technicians will reassemble the interior. Later, CCT-1 will be moved to a new Space Gallery in the museum’s planned fourth building.

Plans call for the museum to build a full-scale mock-up of the payload bay and develop other new exhibits with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. When completed, the CCT-1 exhibit will allow the public to look into the cockpit and mid-deck areas of a shuttle and learn how astronauts trained for their missions.

According to Astronaut Mike Foreman, the museum’s exhibit plans for the CCT-1 are exciting.

“I’ll always remember the space shuttle as the vehicle that took me to space, but I always say that the second-best thing about going to space is coming back and telling people about it,” said Foreman. “Telling the story and sharing the experience with others by adding this trainer to the Air Force museum will allow people to see and understand more of what we experienced.”

The new Space Gallery, where CCT-1 will eventually reside, is part of a multi-phase, long term expansion plan and will house the museum’s growing space collection. The gallery will include a Titan IV space launch vehicle, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft, and many recently retired NASA artifacts such as a nose cap assembly, landing gear strut and a variety of astronaut equipment. In addition, a range of satellites and related items will showcase the Air Force’s vast reconnaissance, early warning, communications and other space-based capabilities.

One of the unique features of the fourth building will be the creation of dedicated, interactive spaces for learning in the galleries. Three “Learning Nodes” will provide a unique environment for lectures and demonstrations, as well as extensions of the exhibit experience. These 60-seat “gallery classrooms” will allow museum staff to facilitate new STEM experiences, while guest scientists and engineers from Air Force organizations, the aerospace industry, and area colleges and universities will be invited to share their expertise. Multimedia presentations will introduce students to air and space missions and the men and women responsible for their execution. When the nodes are not in use for scheduled programs, multimedia presentations will captivate public audiences.

The Air Force Museum Foundation, an IRS 501(c)(3) organization chartered to assist the National Museum of the United States Air Force with the development and expansion of facilities, is in the process of raising the funds to meet the growing requirements of the museum with a new fourth building. The fourth building will house the Space Gallery, Presidential Aircraft Gallery and Global Reach Gallery. To date, $39.3 million has been secured by the Foundation for the project, which is expected to cost an estimated $48 million. Current plans call for construction to begin in 2013 and the building to be initially opened in 2015. At that time the museum will continue to populate the new building until all exhibits are completed.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Admission and parking are free.
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NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Rob Bardua at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1386.
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