Dayton may have been passed over to receive a space shuttle but the National Museum of the United States Air Force now has the next best thing. For more than 30 years Crew Compartment Trainer One was used to teach astronauts how to fly orbiters and operate equipment in space. Astronaut Greg Johnson was on hand Wednesday as CCT-1 arrived on the NASA Super Guppy aircraft. Johnson says he spent almost more time in the trainer than in actual space.
“CCT-1 is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where the astronauts go in and they learn to operate the space shuttles. It’s the training camp. It’s the real thing and it’s a one-of-a-kind asset. I also understand the National Museum of the Air Force (is) being very creative in how they’re going to build the exhibit and there’s going to be a lot of hands-on that might not have been available with a real artifact like an orbiter,” he says.
Museum curator Doug Lantry says plans call for creating a full-scale mock-up of a shuttle payload bay.
“You’ll be able to access a two-level structure that will let you look into the CCT and see the actual equipment that the astronauts used to train. And the inside of the CCT is a very close analog to the actual shuttle. More than 300 astronauts trained in there and over 75 of them were Air Force crew members,” he says.
It will take about a year to develop that exhibit. In the meantime, CCT-1 goes on public display Friday.
See more pictures on our Facebook page.