Redundant pressure window panes are provided in the six forward
windshields, the two overhead viewing windows, the two aft viewing
windows and the side hatch windows; they are described in the window
section. Approximately 300 penetrations in the pressure shell are
sealed with plates and fittings. A large removable panel in the
aft bulkhead provides access to the interior of the crew compartment
during initial fabrication and assembly and provides for airlock
installation and removal. The compartment supports the environmental
control and life support system; avionics; guidance, navigation
and control equipment; inertial measurement units; displays and
controls; star trackers; and crew accommodations for sleeping, waste
management, seats and an optional galley.
The crew compartment is supported within the forward fuselage at
only four attach points to minimize the thermal conductivity between
them. The two major attach points are located at the aft end of
the crew compartment at the flight deck floor level. The vertical
load reaction link is on the centerline of the forward bulkhead.
The lateral load reaction is on the lower segment of the aft bulkhead.
The compartment is configured to accommodate a crew of four on
the flight deck and three in the middeck. In OV-102, four can be
accommodated in the middeck. The crew cabin arrangement consists
of a flight deck, middeck and lower level equipment bay.
The crew compartment is pressurized to 14.7 psia, plus or minus
0.2 psia, and is maintained at an 80-percent nitrogen and 20-percent
oxygen composition by the ECLSS, which provides a shirt-sleeve environment
for the flight crew. The crew compartment is designed for 16 psia.
The crew compartment's volume with the airlock in the middeck is
2,325 cubic feet. If the airlock is in the payload bay, the crew
compartment's cabin volume is 2,625 cubic feet.
The flight deck is the uppermost compartment of the cabin. The
commander's and pilot's work stations are positioned side by side
in the forward portion of the flight deck. These stations have controls
and displays for maintaining autonomous control of the vehicle throughout
all mission phases. Directly behind and to the sides of the commander
and pilot centerline are the mission specialist seats.
The commander's and pilot's seats have two shoulder harnesses and
a lap belt for restraints. The shoulder harnesses have an inertia
reel lock/unlock feature. The unlocked position allows the shoulder
harness to move. The commander and pilot can move their seats along
the orbiter's Z (vertical) and X (longitudinal) axes so they can
reach and see controls better during the ascent and entry phases
of flight. Seat movement for each axis is provided by a single ac
motor. The total travel distance for the Z and X axes is 10 and
5 inches, respectively. Seat adjustment controls are located on
the left side of the seat pan and consist of a three-position toggle
switch for power bus selection and one spring-loaded, three-position
toggle switch each to control horizontal and vertical seat movement.
To operate the seat, the commander and pilot position the pwr buss
sel switch to AC2 or AC3 for power; to move the seat along the horizontal
axis, the commander and pilot position the horiz contr switch to
fwd to move the seat forward and to aft to move the seat aft. Similarly,
to move the seat along the vertical axis, the commander and pilot
position the vert contr switch to up to move the seat upward and
to down to move the seat down. The commander and pilot can position
the pwr buss sel switch to off, removing power from the seat.
If the seat motors fail, the seat can be adjusted manually. However,
manual seat adjustment can only take place on orbit and is accomplished
with a special seat adjustment tool provided in the in-flight maintenance
tool kit. Manual horizontal and vertical seat adjustment controls
are located under the seat pan cushion and on the aft side of the
fixed seat structure. The seat adjustment tool is a ratchet-driven,
3/16-inch allen wrench, which is inserted into the vertical or horizontal
manual adjustment to move the seat along the Z or X axis. The seats
accommodate stowage of in-flight equipment and have removable seat
cushions and mounting provisions for oxygen and communications connections
to the crew altitude protection system.
Each mission and payload specialist's seat has two shoulder harnesses
and a lap belt for restraints. The specialists' seats have controls
to manually lock and unlock the tilt of the seat back. Each seat
has removable seat cushions and mounting provisions for oxygen and
communications connections to the CAPS. The specialists' seats are
removed and stowed in the middeck on orbit. No tools are required
since the legs of each seat have quick-disconnect fittings. Each
seat is 25.5 inches long, 15.5 inches wide and 11 inches high when
folded for stowage.
The aft flight deck has two overhead and aft viewing windows for
viewing orbital operations. The aft flight deck station also contains
displays and controls for executing attitude or translational maneuvers
for rendezvous, stationkeeping, docking, payload deployment and
retrieval, payload monitoring, remote manipulator system controls
and displays, payload bay door operations and closed-circuit television
The forward flight deck, which includes the center console and
seats, is approximately 24 square feet. However, the side console
controls and displays add approximately 3.5 square feet more. If
the center console is subtracted from the 24 square feet, this would
amount to approximately 5.2 square feet.
The aft flight deck is approximately 40 square feet.
Directly beneath the flight deck is the middeck. Access to the
middeck is through two interdeck openings, which measure 26 by 28
inches. Normally, the right interdeck opening is closed and the
left is open. A ladder attached to the left interdeck access allows
easy passage in 1-g conditions. The middeck provides crew accommodations
and contains three avionics equipment bays. The two forward avionics
bays utilize the complete width of the cabin and extend into the
middeck 39 inches from the forward bulkhead. The aft bay extends
into the middeck 39 inches from the aft bulkhead on the right side
of the airlock. Just forward of the waste management system is the
side hatch. The completely stripped middeck is approximately 160
square feet; the gross mobility area is approximately 100 square
The side hatch in the middeck is used for normal crew entrance/exit
and may be operated from within the crew cabin middeck or externally.
It can be jettisoned for emergencies, as discussed in the escape
system section. It is attached to the crew cabin tunnel by hinges,
a torque tube and support fittings. The hatch opens outwardly 90
degrees down with the orbiter horizontal or 90 degrees sideways
with the orbiter vertical. It is 40 inches in diameter and has a
10-inch clear-view window in the center of the hatch. The window
consists of three panes of glass. The side hatch has a pressure
seal that is compressed by the side hatch latch mechanisms when
the hatch is locked closed. A thermal barrier of Inconel wire mesh
spring with a ceramic fiber braided sleeve is installed between
the reusable surface insulation tiles on the forward fuselage and
the side hatch. The total weight of the side hatch is 294 pounds.
Depending on the mission requirements, bunk sleep stations and
a galley can be installed in the middeck. In addition, three or
four seats of the same type as the mission specialists' seats on
the flight deck can be installed in the middeck. Three seats over
the normal three could be installed in the middeck for rescue missions
if the bunk sleep stations were removed.
The waste management system, located in the middeck, can also accommodate
payloads in the pressurized crew compartment environment.
The middeck also provides a stowage volume of 140 cubic feet. Accommodations
are included for dining, sleeping, maintenance, exercising and data
management. On the orbiter centerline, just aft of the forward avionics
equipment bay, an opening in the ceiling provides access to the
inertial measurement units.
The middeck floor contains removable panels that provide access
to the ECLSS equipment. The middeck equipment bay below the middeck
floor houses the major components of the waste management and air
revitalization systems, such as pumps, fans, lithium hydroxide,
absorbers, heat exchangers and ducting. This compartment has space
for stowing lithium hydroxide canisters and five separate spaces
for crew equipment stowage with a volume of 29.92 cubic feet.
Modular stowage lockers are used to store the flight crew's personal
gear, mission-necessary equipment, personal hygiene equipment and
experiments. The modular lockers are made of sandwich panels of
Kevlar/epoxy and a non-metallic core. This reduced the lockers'
weight by 83 percent compared to all-aluminum lockers, a reduction
of approximately 150 pounds. There are 42 identical boxes, which
are 11 by 18 by 21 inches.
An airlock, located in the middeck, is composed of machined aluminum
sections welded together to form a cylinder with hatch mounting
flanges. The upper cylindrical section and bulkheads are constructed
of aluminum honeycomb. Two semicylindrical aluminum sections are
welded to the airlock's primary structure to house the ECLSS and
electrical support equipment. Each semicylindrical section has three
feedthrough plates for plumbing and cable routings from the orbiter
to the airlock.
Normally, two extravehicular mobility units are stowed in the airlock.
The EMU is an integrated space suit assembly and life support system
that enables flight crew members to leave the pressurized orbiter
crew cabin and work outside the cabin in space.