Shuttle Simulator coming to Texas A&M

Paul Hill and R. Bowen Loftin signing an agreementTexas A&M University and the Department of Aerospace Engineering moved a step closer to bringing the Shuttle Motion Simulator to College Station when Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin signed an agreement to begin the move of the primary space shuttle launch and landing trainer.

The agreement was signed during a ceremony Monday (Dec. 19) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The simulator, which will be the only major piece of the shuttle program that will remain in Texas, provided a full-motion simulation of shuttle launches and landings for every crew that flew the shuttle. It began operations at JSC in 1977 and was used in training for all 135 space shuttle missions.

“It was the heart and soul of the training program here at Johnson Space Center to prepare the astronauts for every shuttle mission,” Loftin said. “As we all know here in Texas we were disappointed by the fact that no shuttle is remaining in Texas. This is the only major piece from the shuttle program that is staying in Texas.

Aggie astronaut Mike Fossum speaking at Johnson Space Center“It is also unique because it will remain operational. We are going to have an operational simulator that will be utilized to educate further generations of public school children as well as university students in the operation of the shuttle.”

Once in College Station, the simulator will be housed at the University Services Building and will be used as a teaching tool for A&M aerospace students as well as for outreach to students in grades K-12.

“I am glad to see it happen,” Aggie astronaut Mike Fossum said. “It has been a huge part of out legacy and a very important part of our training. This is a real piece of equipment and they are not going to just put a plaque on it and let it gather dust, they are going to put it to work. I love that.”