Closer Look at the Divers|
divers surround STS-97 Mission Specialist Joe Tanner
as he trains for a spacewalk in the NBL.
are the backbone of the system and work in one of three
major roles: utility diver, camera diver or safety diver.
"The divers are the lifelines, teachers and coaches
for the astronauts while training for a spacewalk,"
said NBL Director Ernest Becker.
the divers, the astronauts are taught how to open hatches,
use tools and move in the weightless environment of
the facility. "Most of the task training and timeline
training are done at the NBL," said Lisa Spense,
an NBL flight lead.
team determines the most efficient and convenient way
to perform tasks needed for a spacewalk. The flight
lead puts together a rough procedure, but it is not
until the divers hit the water that the orchestration
Scott Parazynski said the divers are as knowledgeable
as they are helpful. "They work with [spacewalk]
training every day, and they can tell right away if
you are developing a bad habit and they help you correct
it," he said. "They are really good teachers."
watch an astronaut perform a spacewalk that has been
rehearsed in the NBL is a powerful moment for everyone
who works in the facility. "While watching spacewalks,"
diver Ashley Porter said, "we can take a step back
from the everyday work and realize what it is we are
of the NBL
In place at
the Sonny Carter Training Facility is an intricate system of teams
working together to teach astronauts how to perform space station
assembly tasks, which are the most extensive and complex spacewalks
Read the story
of assistant dive operations training officer Gavin
Perform spacewalk and bailout training at the NBL.
Gas System Group: Produces and controls all of the breathing
gas -- Nitrox -- that the divers use.
Monitor the communication systems during water tests.
Help the suited subjects with all of their tasks. There is a minimum
of four divers per suited subject.
Works with designing the shuttle and station mockups.
Control System Group:
Ensures test subjects receive adequate suit conditions.
Engineering Team: Decides the configuration of the pool
for a set of tests and generates animation of the test configurations
to check layout and clearances.
Range Planning Group:
Schedules the training events that go into the tank.
Performs planned and unplanned maintenance on the mockups.
Always present while divers are in the water to ensure health and
safety. Physically examines test subjects and divers before each
Works in the evening to reconfigure the pool for the next day's
Takes care of the maintenance, repair and testing of the shuttle
and space station remote manipulator system.
An astronaut or engineer in the extravehicular mobility unit, or
Works to ensure the EMU is in top condition for each suited subject.
Stays with an assigned crew while training for a spacewalk and gives
the training manager inputs.
Ensures everything runs smoothly, including environmental control
systems, gas flow, cooling to suit and communications.
Ensures test safety during the training in the pool.
Provides tools for the training events. These tools are downgraded
flight units that are used for training.
Sit on the pool deck during tests and ensure the safety of the divers.