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30 years after rollout, take a tour of Space Shuttle Discovery's flightdeck

By dpreview staff on Oct 14, 2013 at 02:57 GMT

Space Shuttle Discovery was rolled out from its Palmdale factory thirty years ago this month, and in an operational career spanning 39 missions, she spent 365 days in space and travelled almost 150 million miles. Of the six shuttles built, one was a prototype that never flew in space, two were lost in accidents and the rest, including Discovery were permanently retired two years ago and currently reside in museums across the USA.

This panorama was created during Discovery's lengthy decommissioning process back in 2011 by Jook Leung of 360VR Images, which specializes in interactive 360-degree panoramas. Discovery can currently be found on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Virginia but if you're curious about what it looks like inside, click the image below for a 360-degree interactive view of the flight-deck of the most travelled shuttle ever to fly.  

Source: 360VR Images

Comments

Total comments: 57
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (21 hours ago)

it will be decades, if ever, that we reach this level of space travel capability. Comparing this to the tuna cans of Orion (that may never fly) or the 1960s era Soviet rockets now the only route to orbit... it make me want to vomit and it's not from space sickness... it's from our backwardness and shortsightedness....

0 upvotes
DanCee
By DanCee (6 months ago)

great view!! what a piece of engineering :)

0 upvotes
jaygeephoto
By jaygeephoto (6 months ago)

Fantastic. I'm a bit nauseated though - don't think I'm the Right Stuff for spaceflight of any sort.

0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (6 months ago)

OK, where's the instruction book, that doesn't look to hard to fly!

0 upvotes
fireplace33
By fireplace33 (6 months ago)

Those seats don't look anything like comfortable ?

1 upvote
Jake64
By Jake64 (6 months ago)

How does one even begin to make sense of any of that ?!
P.S. If you turn the camera around to the left you will see a nice "Canada" sticker along with a maple leaf ;)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
SDPharm
By SDPharm (6 months ago)

> How does one even begin to make sense of any of that ?!

Yeah, it looks almost as complicated as some of the cameras these days. Here's an example of only a portion of the Panasonic GH3 menus:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-gh3/6

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
peter_jones
By peter_jones (6 months ago)

A Dell ! I thought they only used Thinkpads.

1 upvote
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (6 months ago)

Dell should have made more of a big deal about this: think Omega, Nikon, Hasselblad product tie ins with NASA...

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (6 months ago)

Was this baby related to the one the blew up during take-off -- or the one that disintegrated whist landing?

0 upvotes
Vaughn T.Winfree
By Vaughn T.Winfree (6 months ago)

I miss the birds and what they were capable of doing.. They built the ISS and NASA was a great place to work for when I was there. I sat in that very comanders seat before at Launch Pad 39A in the vertical position of course. It was a great era and I was sad to see it go... I feel like we have fallen behind on space exploration and what we could be accomplishing now. I can only hope that private companies can get things going in the right direction in a much faster pace... Space X is doing a fantastic job thus far. I am glad I was a part of it....

8 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (6 months ago)

"I can only hope that private companies can get things going in the right direction..."
Up?

0 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (21 hours ago)

No private company in it right mind will ever fund something on this scale... not in our New Amerika... dollars to social program blackholes, not to study stellar blackholes! I fear for our Nation when we turn our backs on bold space initiatives that actually RETURN money to the coffers... not drain it and cause more debt. America once dominated high-tech... no longer... and underfunding NASA was one big nail in that coffin.

0 upvotes
Fleabag
By Fleabag (6 months ago)

Where are the cup holders?

4 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (6 months ago)

I miss the old birds. Private companies are getting it done faster and cheaper tho.

1 upvote
photogeek
By photogeek (6 months ago)

Private companies have just achieved the level of technology the government had in the early 60's. It's a bit early to say that it's faster or cheaper. It's heck of a lot easier to churn out 60's technology which you didn't have to invent from scratch and pass it off as something groundbreaking.

Comment edited 9 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (6 months ago)

60's-sized rockets isn't 60's technology. That statement is ignorant.
The level of electronics and automation as well as materials sciences is incomparable.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
photogeek
By photogeek (6 months ago)

You're failing to realize that electronics doesn't matter. What matters is that those rockets get stuff into orbit. If they could do that without electronics at all, that would have been a preferable solution, since there'd be fewer things to break. I maintain that these "new" rockets do the exact same things that Soviet and NASA rockets did in the 60's.

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (6 months ago)

I replied strongly to your comment because it seems to me that you're opposed to the idea that a private company can do something better than the government can.

0 upvotes
photogeek
By photogeek (6 months ago)

I didn't suggest that. Private companies do things better all the time. As a matter of fact, there's quite a bit of contractor work in those rockets from the 60's as well, and contractor involvement only increased since then, with a number of spacecraft built almost exclusively by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. It's just that I'm sick and tired of folks taking something that existed 50 years ago and passing it off as something groundbreaking just because it's made entirely by a private company owned by a charismatic "new generation" entrepreneur.

1 upvote
SJack
By SJack (6 months ago)

"I'm sick and tired of folks taking something that existed 50 years ago" The same could be said about pretty much everything but what Elon is doing is groundbreaking. Model T went where ever you wanted but Tesla isn't groundbreaking? iPhone isn't groundbreaking compared to the first phones? So because it's a rocket it isn't groundbreaking? Small minded I'd say.

0 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (21 hours ago)

InTheMist, appropriately named... you're lost in the mist of wishful thinking... we need the government to create bold initiatives and provide the funding and let private industry accomplish the goals... privatizing space is never going to take us to the moon or create the next Shuttle. No private company could build the Hoover Dam, the Interstate Highway System, win WWII, or put us on the moon! As a former NASA staffer I saw what had become of the great Moon program in the early '80s and it made me sick... what that morphed into today breaks my heart. We need a space-equivalent of Edison's workshop, not a limited route truck hauling system limited to a couple of pickup trucks with Russian-built engines!

0 upvotes
deanfuller
By deanfuller (6 months ago)

Not that impressed. Can't even read the switch labels or anything on the displays. Given the imaging equipment available in 2011 to even the novice, this lake of resolution seems strange.

2 upvotes
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (6 months ago)

I don't know any thing, but I'm going to guess that this is a lower-res internet-friendly version of what was originally an enormous file, created by someone who probably has far more knowledge of the process, than both of us combined --but, like you, I'm guessing. BTW, I can see many of the labels fine...

0 upvotes
photogeek
By photogeek (6 months ago)

Still fewer buttons and switches than on a DSLR.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
massimogori
By massimogori (6 months ago)

Interesting to see that Dell laptops have not changed since thirty years!

3 upvotes
John Miles
By John Miles (6 months ago)

Ah yes the modern tech; wonderful.
Give yourselves a treat and operate a virtual version of the back up calculator on the early Apollo space missions:
http://www.antiquark.com/sliderule/sim/virtual-slide-rule.html

0 upvotes
DotCom Editor
By DotCom Editor (6 months ago)

I hope none of those screen were running Windows Vista

3 upvotes
Johannes Zander
By Johannes Zander (6 months ago)

They used Intel 8086 and RCA 1802 CPUs.
The entire control software for the shuttle is less then one MB. So definitly not Windows.
More about computers in space here:
http://www.cpushack.com/space-craft-cpu.html

3 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (6 months ago)

On the other hand, what's that Dell laptop doing there?

Product placement, I guess. ;-) Actually, I'd guess it's doing something like keeping the displays lit with something credible. There is probably more compute power in the laptop than in all the shuttle control computers combined....

0 upvotes
ptodd
By ptodd (6 months ago)

There might be more compute power in the camera that took the photos, let alone the laptop...

2 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (6 months ago)

The space station last I knew was running Vista.... be afraid, very very afraid.

0 upvotes
rossdoyle
By rossdoyle (6 months ago)

Wow, festooned with so many buttons. And one "Canada" panel in the back. This looks like it required the supreme concentration of 3 people to fly. And to think that the first American astronaut (arguably) was Ham the chimp. I wonder what the Soyuz control panels look like.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (6 months ago)

Aircraft always look much more complex than they really are.

1 upvote
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (6 months ago)

Yeah, sure they do. Anyone who can master the OMD's firmware could probably fly this thing easily.

9 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (6 months ago)

I see the parallel with a Pro camera: all important controls are available at the press of a button, instead being hidden in menus and submenus.

It seems impressive, but there's nothing as efficient!

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
David0X
By David0X (6 months ago)

Lots of switches there:
I'd like to see the cockpit as redesigned by the Apple design team...

1 upvote
groucher
By groucher (6 months ago)

Apple let loose on a safety critical system. I hope you're not serious.

3 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (6 months ago)

"Apple let loose on a safety critical system. I hope you're not serious."

You mean like all the MacBooks used by NASA engineers?

http://cdn1.appleinsider.com/mars1208060-2.jpg

1 upvote
groucher
By groucher (6 months ago)

Somehow, I don't think that running a word processor qualifies as safety-anything.

5 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (6 months ago)

I guess space travel now belongs to Museums.

The "PIONEERING SPIRIT" or whatever you might call it, is just LOST.

Space Shuttle... Now the Nation... in SHUTDOWN mode...

.

8 upvotes
Amnon G
By Amnon G (6 months ago)

As we know from Microsoft Windows, after every shutdown there's usually a restart :-) Hopefully space exploration/settlement will behave the same.

1 upvote
rb59020
By rb59020 (6 months ago)

Leaves more money for food stamps and SSI disability.

0 upvotes
austin design
By austin design (6 months ago)

Get back in your tea cave, rb59020.

2 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (6 months ago)

Depressing. The Americans frittered away their money on the white elephant known as the ISS, killed the Shuttle program, and now have to go begging to the Russians to launch their people TO the white elephant while what's left of NASA hooks its wagon to the global warming gravy train to save what jobs they can. How did it get to this?

9 upvotes
dennis tennis
By dennis tennis (6 months ago)

Sad that all we can do now is go online and turn every topic into your personal political ranting platform.

Take a picture of anything and you can turn it into yet another rant about government shutdown, fake global warming, and, of course, the good old days were so much better

10 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (6 months ago)

"Depressing. The Americans frittered away their money on the white elephant known as the ISS, killed the Shuttle program, and now have to go begging to the Russians to launch their people TO the white elephant while what's left of NASA hooks its wagon to the global warming gravy train to save what jobs they can. How did it get to this?"

The Shuttle was old and expensive and needed to be retired, although it should not have been retired until a replacement was made.

I agree the ISS has been a waste of money.

The Russian space program has been mostly financed by American dollars, including their participation in the ISS. America did not got "begging" for rides. That's just silly.

NASA is doing just fine driving new companies into soace, leading with new technologies and greatly reducing costs. In the end though, if you are not American it isn't your place to criticize what we do with our space program.

5 upvotes
JJ Rodin
By JJ Rodin (6 months ago)

NASA lost leadership (ppl) and taxpayer/political will to explore (where are all the other nations going into space - huh?). Remember the NASA 'crap' leader that was NOT going to allow shuttle to service the last Hubble revamp - even when astronauts were willing to take the risk - crap leaders, crap visions, crap results !! But Hey, what war has the US not wasted $Trillions on, so there!! :)
Ugh, War good, Space Bad, Ugh!!

0 upvotes
Vinci71
By Vinci71 (6 months ago)

The Shuttle program lasted nearly 30 years, maybe it was near its planned length. The main problem is that it was not possible to use this ships as often as initially planned, and it became more and more expensive to launch and mantain the aging fleet.

I don't believe the ISS is a waste of money, Soviets first and then Russians showed that space stations are needed also to be able to plan for future trips to remote destinations (Mars, to begin). A space station is needed and it is better to share a common program, that having several national programs competing with each other.

It was a smart move from NASA to join a program with experienced partners, without having to develop everything from scratch, being some 20 years behind...

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (6 months ago)

"I don't believe the ISS is a waste of money, Soviets first and then Russians showed that space stations are needed also to be able to plan for future trips to remote destinations"

The ISS is nearing the end of its planned life. It will never be used for such things. There is no benefit for America's participation in the ISS.

"it is better to share a common program, that having several national programs competing with each other"

No. America doesn't have to compete against anyone considering it leads the world in space technology and exploration. It would be foolish for America to give that away.

"It was a smart move from NASA to join a program with experienced partners, without having to develop everything from scratch, being some 20 years behind."

America has always had the capability to build something like the ISS all on its own. America is the one that transported and assembled it. It also previously had by far the biggest space station ever built, Skylab.

2 upvotes
John Miles
By John Miles (6 months ago)

The World is at the dawn of a new industrial revolution because of experiments and tech like the Space Shuttle missions and all you can do is hide up your own a&*^ and moan. The planet is passing you by so fast you're lucky you don't pass out from the wind rush.

2 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (6 months ago)

The ISS for those who don't know, IS a political object. It was conceived, in-part, to give jobs to the thousands out of out of work Russian physicists so they wouldn't go building atomic bombs for Arab countries. Why else would they have spent $150 billion on something that really had no major goals in mind for its construction?

0 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (6 months ago)

The science being done on the ISS is real.

0 upvotes
computerguy
By computerguy (6 months ago)

Was Skylab really the biggest space station ever built, before the ISS? I thought the Russian Mir space station was bigger.

0 upvotes
John Miles
By John Miles (6 months ago)

Looks like Mir was bigger:
http://www.howitworksdaily.com/space/the-story-of-skylab/

0 upvotes
TheD70Kid
By TheD70Kid (6 months ago)

Boy do I miss it. The good old days.

2 upvotes
ken
By ken (6 months ago)

nice

0 upvotes
Total comments: 57