Food Systems Manager Vickie Kloeris, left, asks Expedition
6 crewmembers Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu about their food
As soon as
a shuttle lands, NASA begins preparations for its next trip into
space. This process involves thousands of people working together
to make sure every system on the space shuttle is working as it
should be and that it is prepared to take another crew and cargo
safely into space.
team also makes sure all the cargo, usually called "payloads,"
is safely stowed aboard the shuttle and ready to support the mission.
From new equipment
for the space station to the latest science experiment taking its
turn in microgravity, the processing team assures that everything
will work on the way to space, in orbit and all the way home.
A Taste of the Future
The Space Food Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center in Houston
does all it can to ensure the astronauts are happy when it comes
to their meals.
Rocket Booster Retrieval
After every space shuttle launch, two specially outfitted NASA ships
are dispatched to retrieve the Solid Rocket Boosters from the western
Landing to Launch (189 Kb pdf)
The work of preparing a space shuttle for flight takes place
at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., primarily at the Launch Complex 39
Area. The process actually begins at the end of each flight.
Payloads to be transported to the International Space Station are
shipped to the launch site for final processing prior to launch.
The launch center used and services offered are dependent on the
vehicle used for transportation.
Complex 39, Pads A and B
Since the late 1960s, Pads A and B at Kennedy Space Center's Launch
Complex 39 in Florida have served as backdrops for America's most
significant human space flight endeavors -- Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz
and the space shuttle.
When an orbiter lands at the Kennedy Space Center, it touches down
on one of the world's longest runways. The concrete facility is
located about two miles northwest of the Vehicle Assembly Building
on a northwest/southeast alignment.
An orbiter is towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility within hours
of its arrival, either after landing at Kennedy Space Center or
returning aboard a ferry flight on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
Propulsion Testing Complex
Every Space Shuttle Main Engine undergoes acceptance testing at
Stennis Space Center in Alabama. Once proven flight-worthy, the
engine is transported to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for installation
on an orbiter.
- Main Engine Test Firing
On Nov. 8, 2002, NASA streamed a 520-second test firing of an advanced
Space Shuttle Main Engine live over the Internet.
Aldrich and his team of professional sniffers apply their talents
to keeping the space shuttle and International Space Station
free of offensive odors and dangerous compounds.|
was a fan of the Apollo program. He watched the early launches
on a black-and-white television in a Louisiana classroom. He
dreamed often of space. Barry Robinson never doubted that one
day he would work for NASA. He just never imagined it would
be in Mississippi.