December 16th, 2010

Tuesday, December 13th was devoted to the integrated simulation of STS-134 mission flight day number 4, “Deploy and Install”. The crew practiced a lot of space works, from Shuttle docking phase to AMS installation on the ISS. In particular the astronauts performed the rehearsal of when AMS-02 will be extracted from the Endeavour’s bay through the shuttle arm, handed off to the ISS arm and finally berthed on ISS truss. The hand over process of AMS-02 will be followed by Roberto Vittori and Andrew Feustel on the Shuttle and by Gregory Johnson and Greg Chamitoff on the ISS: we are in their hands! Anyway, the simulation was almost real, so close to reality that Astronauts had even to eat the same (horrible!) meal scheduled on the fourth day of their mission.

All the activities took place in Houston, JSC: AMS Team was in the Payload Control Room (where the KSC-POCC is going to move); STS-134 Crew members were based in the Mission Control Center (MCC-H), while ISS operations were controlled from the Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC at Marshall Space Flight Center). One day before the simulation, our Flight Director invited us and the crew to an informal social after hours.