On Friday afternoon at our Space Camp Tweetup we were privileged enough to be able to participate in a simulated Space Shuttle mission. My team was the Orbiter Endeavor group and I was in the position of Capcom.
I quickly learned that Capcom is the only person in mission control that can speak to the orbiter at any given time, so I had a lot of responsibilities. Due to the size of our group (16 total, with 8 assigned to each mission) we did not have a full mission control team.
@scienceesl (me, Capcom), @OneJayAtATime (flight director), @libbydoodle (pilot), @ssquire (commander), @absolutspaceguy (prop), @trentfaust (mission specialist), @MattAttackPro (mission specialist), and @cmilesbaker (EVA)
We had about an hours worth of rehearsal for our mission, lunch and then we completed our mission. During out mission we had an AOA or Abort Once Around.
An Abort Once Around (AOA) is available when the shuttle could not
reach a stable orbit but has sufficient velocity to circle the earth
once and land, about 90 minutes after lift-off. The time window for
using the AOA abort is very short – just a few seconds between the TAL
and ATO abort opportunities. Therefore, taking this option would be
This abort mode was never actually needed during the history of the Shuttle program.
Our mission specialists also had to do a heat tile repair (Jeffery joined in on this fun).
Our mission control instructor:
Team Endeavor standing in the mission control doorway
Team Endeavor Flight Crew: @libbydoodle Pilot, @ssquire Commander, @TrentFaust Mission Specialist, @MattAttackPro Mission Specialist, and Jeffery the tiger extra Mission Specialist.
Let me tell you in a lot of ways I felt just as stressed as if their lives were really in my hands
Mission Control @scienceesl (capcom) @cmilesbaker (eva) and @onejayatatime (flight), this was during our rehearsal so Jeffery was with us.
FLight crew with their instructor
One of our many screens we had to look at
All of our wonderful instructors, let me tell you they threw some anomolies at us, (like when @drvonbraun answered @libbydoodle on twitter!) But a great time was had by all!
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