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Mission Control
Answers Your Questions

From: Thomas Richman, of Anaheim, Calif.
To: Wayne Hale, flight director for the ascent team


Question: In the MCC, there are three main large viewing monitors displaying the shuttle's orbital elements, and the rightmost panel displays a virtual image indicating what appears to be attitude or direction. I notice the small grayish objects that seem to wander around the horizon. What do these represent?

Answer: The rightmost screen generally shows the DEMOS (Distributed Earth Models and Orbiter System) tracking display. This program is usually configured to show the orbiter/ISS attitude (and location) relative to the Earth from three different viewpoints -- looking down from above the vehicle towards the Earth (the larger view), from behind in the orbital path with the Earth to the left (i.e., north is up), and from the side (perpendicular to the orbital path) with the Earth at the bottom.

Aside from the Earth and orbiter/ISS, DEMOS also shows the various communications ground sites, projected ground tracks and even stars in the background. The following Web site describes the various parts of the DEMOS display:

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/reference/faq/tracking.html




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Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 11/26/2002
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