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FWD: [UASR] NASA Unveils New Atlantis Cockpit

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  • Frits Westra
    Posted by : Ndunlks@aol.comNASA Unveils New Atlantis Cockpit.c The Associated PressBy MARCIA DUNNCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA this week
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 1999
      Posted by : Ndunlks@...

      NASA Unveils New Atlantis Cockpit

      .c The Associated Press


      CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA this week unveiled a modern, Boeing
      777-style cockpit inside space shuttle Atlantis, an improvement that
      astronauts say could save their lives.

      Instead of the usual array of dials and knobs and three old-fashioned
      screens, Atlantis' cockpit now has nine high-resolution, liquid-crystal
      computer screens, thus the moniker ``glass cockpit.''

      Shuttle pilots say they will be able to obtain information much more quickly
      during the crucial 8 1/2-minute climb to orbit. In addition, the data will be
      easier to read because of its organization and color coding.

      They say this will help them deal better with emergencies.

      ``It really helps the crew analyze and react quicker,'' said Andrew Allen, a
      former shuttle commander who now works for United Space Alliance, the primary
      shuttle contractor. ``And in this business, on something that's as dynamic as
      an ascent, milliseconds can make a big difference.''

      Reporters were granted unprecedented access into the space shuttle, being
      readied in the hangar for a December flight.

      It's the latest and most visible example of NASA's continuing improvements
      to the space shuttle fleet, said Elric McHenry, manager of shuttle program
      development. Other upgrades include lighter fuel tanks, more sophisticated
      sensors, and more efficient and sturdier main engines.

      ``The shuttle is the most capable and reliable and safe space transportation
      system in the world today, and we intend to keep it that way and we intend to
      improve it,'' McHenry said Thursday.

      NASA spent just over $200 million to develop and test the new cockpit system
      and to install it in Atlantis and training equipment. Engineers kept some of
      the switches and organized the screens so it wouldn't be too drastic of a
      change for the pilots.

      The three other space shuttles will be outfitted with glass cockpits over
      the next two years at a cost of almost $9 million each.

      NASA expects to keep flying its space shuttles for the next 10 or 20 years,
      or until something better comes along. An extended life is possible only if
      the shuttle systems are updated, McHenry noted.

      Columbia made the first shuttle flight 18 years ago.

      AP-NY-04-30-99 1425EDT

      Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP
      news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise
      distributed without prior written authority of The Associated Press.
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