July 12, 2007
The Shuttle Mission Simulator (SMS) consists of two simulators in Building 5 of Johnson Space Center. There is a fixed-base simulator which has a high-fidelity mock-up of the flight deck of the Space Shuttle, as well as a low-fidelity mock-up of the mid-deck. There is also a motion-base simulator which has a front flight deck from the Space Shuttle. That simulator can be tilted and shaken to increase realism. To simulate launching, it can be tilted to an angle of 90 degrees.
Before astronauts launch, they will log numerous hours of simulation in both of these simulators. In both simulators, computer screens animate the view from outside the window and every switch is modeled from the Shuttle. Simulator technicians throw various failure and problem simulations at astronauts to make sure that they can cope with anything while in flight.