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BEHIND THE SCENES | Planning | Training | Engineering | Processing | Research | Meet the People

Behind the ScenesPlanning

IMAGE: Timeline detail

Timeliners plan crew activities before a mission. This image is a detail of the STS-111 Crew Activity Plan. Peruse the timelines for STS-111.

Preparing for a 12-day space shuttle mission or a six-month space station expedition requires incredibly detailed planning. If you forget to bring something with you, or you schedule two tasks for the same time period that require the same piece of equipment, you're going to have problems.

Hundreds of people work together before and during a mission to ensure that everything happens when it's supposed to happen and that everyone gets what they need out of the mission.

Facilities and Projects

Mission Control Center
Placed atop each console are initials or abbreviated names for each console's function. Each console also has a "call sign," the name the controller uses when talking to other controllers over the various telephone communication circuits. In some cases, console names or initials are the same as the call signs.

The People of Planning

IMAGE: Brad Mason

Brad Mason is a timeline change officer in the Payload Operations Center at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
More People of Planning

Ask the MCC Archives
During shuttle missions, flight controllers in the Mission Control Center, Houston, responded to questions submitted via the Internet.

Flight Dynamics Facility
Among the many space flight support functions of the Flight Dynamics Facility at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is the essential job of generating the data used to point ground-based and space-based tracking and communications antennas at spacecraft, including the space shuttle and the International Space Station. This pointing data makes it possible to send commands and receive telemetry, science data and television broadcasts from space. It also provides voice communication between the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, and the astronauts.

Planning Reference

Payload Integration Planning
More than five years of planning can go into the development of an International Space Station science experiment. NASA's payload integration experts take into account the resource requirements of each experiment and find the most efficient way to incorporate it into the station's systems and the crew's timeline.

Space Shuttle Reference Manual
This technical guide provides in-depth information of the Shuttle program.

Meet the People

As a timeline change officer, Mason is responsible for updating and maintaining the daily plan that is used by the crew to operate science experiments onboard the International Space Station.
David ReynoldsDavid Reynolds was born with NASA in his blood. His parents worked to support America's first ventures to space. Now, Reynolds, a Marshall Space Flight Center engineer, communicates with crews on the International Space Station, and was the designer of a "tool holder" that makes space jobs easier and safer.
Rita Sutton and
Roxanna Sherwin
Ever since they visited the Marshall Space Flight Center's space museum as little girls, Rita Sutton and Roxanna Sherwin knew they wanted to be a part of the space program.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 07/01/2009
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