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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.

Neutral Buoyancy Lab - Poolside

This panorama was taken poolside. We are near the end of the pool where the Hubble Telescope simulator sits at the bottom of the pool. Astronauts are practicing the moves they will make during the Servicing Mission 3b. The Hubble Telescope is too long to fit in the 40-foot depth of the pool, so it is broken into two parts. The lower end (where most of the work is done) is below the yellow float. The upper end is sticking out of the pool a little farther away. You can see a school class visiting the facility in the window of the observation gallery above the flags on the far wall. Divers stand ready at the pool's edge should they be needed. The life-support umbilicals are extended from the right side of the pool (under the control rooms). The far end of the pool 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 Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (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. The astronauts and divers are constantly monitored from a control room and poolside.

Neutral Buoyancy Lab home page


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