Origins Hubble a view to the edge of space  
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To view the QuickTimeVR panorama below, you must have Apple QuickTime installed on your computer.

With your mouse anywhere within the picture below, click and drag to scan the panorama. With the cursor in the picture, hold the SHIFT key to zoom in, and the CONTROL key to zoom out.

National Buoyancy Lab Control Room

Engineers and scientists use monitors to observe divers and astronauts as they perform activities in the pool. They also monitor the astronauts' air mixture on the computer monitors in the console in front of them. Behind the engineers, you can see the pool through the window. The Hubble simulation is in the left end of the pool. You can see one of the simulated solar panels. The yellow hoists are used to lower the astronauts and their heavy spacesuits into the pool. The right end of the pool (not visible) contains the International Space Station models.

Before going into orbit, astronauts practice their jobs in a "weightless" environment here on earth. They do this in a 40-foot-deep pool at the National Buoyancy Lab (NBL). The NBL is located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Tethered to their air supply by a long umbilical cord, divers add weights to the suited astronauts until they neither sink nor float. The astronauts then work on models of the Hubble, Shuttle, or International Space Station submerged in the tank. Divers constantly surround the astronauts, keeping them safe and lending a helping hand if needed.

National Buoyancy Lab home page


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