Space Shuttle Simulator

  • Michael S. Stanton Student Space Center Space Shuttle Simulator
    photo showing 4 laptop computers in the space shuttle simulator, arranged for command shifts

The system was created and constructed by Michael S. Stanton, who is employed in the Defense Industry and a Retired Navy Chief, to allow elementary students the opportunity to take part in real-time shuttle mission control launch and landing simulations. He designed and made the shuttle simulator and designed the Mission Control software himself with assistance and input from NASA. The simulator was originally housed at Belvidere Elementary School in Falls Church and for the past 15 years and has undergone periodic updates and additions. It was used primarily as an after-school activity for students and run by Mike himself. In the fall of 2009, the school no longer had space available, and Mike contacted us at Arlington Science Focus School and offered the simulator and software to us at no cost. We were happy to accept and excited to now have this tremendous asset to include in our list of offerings in our weekly Science City program for students.

The simulator itself is approximately 12 feet long by 8 feet wide and stands 8 feet tall and is a realistic scale mockup of the interior of the space shuttle cabin, complete with control panels and switches. There is room for 4 students acting as the flight crew with computers during each mission. The Launch Control Center Crew totals 16 separate computer consoles and can accommodate up to 12 additional students to run the remainder of the Launch Control tasks contained in the computer software. This software is installed on 28 computers inside the computer lab that serves as the Launch Control Center. To complete the realistic feel of the experience, each student is connected into a networked VOIP communications system that is used during each simulation.