360-degree virtual tour of the Space Shuttle Discovery flight deck


An excellent chance to gawk at history, before they box it up and stick it in a museum.

I've chosen to focus in on the controller joystick here, because of a funny experience I had over the 4th of July weekend. While visiting family in Kansas, my husband and I went to Kansas City's Science City museum. Science City has a "Land the Space Shuttle" flight simulator. The joystick control for that doesn't look like the one in the actual space shuttle. Instead, it's clearly repurposed from your average flight simulator video game console. What gave me that impression? Probably the pair of missile launch buttons that graced the center of the joystick. As my husband said, "You don't mess with the space shuttle."

Via Doug Kaye


  1. This is so fookin cool. I just wish they had made the images in a high enough res so you could actually read all the labels on the panels. (Yes, I’m a nerd with no life)… I can spend hours looking at cockpit and instrument panel photos. :)

    1. I had this book when I was a kid. I imagine the latest edition might be helpful when compared with these photos. The one I had mapped out every gauge and switch, told you how to run the crapper and fix lunch, the works.

      At least, it sure seemed like a bright 12-year-old could study the book and step in to help if one of the crew fell ill with space-fever or the Cosmic Ralphs.

      1. I’d love to have that book.

        But… I think I’d make lunch and THEN fix the crapper. Doing it in the opposite order might cause cosmic-ralphs. ;)

  2. project Apollo era controls and dell 17 inch laptop bolted to the side. Why do I keep thinking of the battlestar galacica pilot where Doral talks about how antiquated everything was because it wasn’t networked?

  3. Love the little blue velcro tabs everywhere! Oh, and that’s what happened to my old Dell laptop…

  4. At Rockwell in Downey, CA they had a shuttle with the interior panels off. Every time there was a change order the change was made there too. Thus if a problem developed in space they could talk the astronauts through a fix.
    The Shuttle was right next to where my original office had been at Autonetics. Back then it was North American Aviation and that complex was the old Missile Division.
    In the parking lot there were stripes for an airstrip. During WWII P38s were assembled there, shoved out the door, then took off over Imperial Hwy.

  5. I love everything about this… not counting the the Dell laptop on the console…. I can only assume that they completely rebuilt the thing from the ground up…

  6. You really wouldn’t want to mess with the Russian shuttle (Buran)

    “New Scientist: After the cold war, why didn’t Russia maintain its shuttle programme?
    Oleg Kotov: We had no civilian tasks for Buran and the military ones were no longer needed. It was originally designed as a military system for weapon delivery, maybe even nuclear weapons. The American shuttle also has military uses.”


  7. I went to Spacecamp in 1992 or so and piloted the Endeavor simulator. This is nostalgic. The bottom right panel had the APU controls and I remember how deadly serious the startup sequence of that was.

  8. It takes a lotta buttons to make a brick fly, even a bea-utiful brick.

    Shout out to Anon #14, the shuttle simulator was the best part of Spacecamp.

  9. Not complete without decent cupholders, some old takeout wrappers and a cassette deck with a Creedence tape in it.

  10. I love that with all that crazy tech there is still a bog-standard fire extinguisher there. I bet they fly it with the manila inspection tag on it, too.

  11. Yeah, missiles, pffft…

    Everyone knows Shuttles have lasers (proof: James Bonds Moonraker)

    pew pew.

  12. Blue Velcro and Nomex cushions. It’s the little things that bring it all back, in my case 10 years at NASA-JSC, about a third of that spent crawling in and out of the mockups in Bldg 9.

    One of which is going to Seattle.

  13. The Shuttle has been evolving since 1981 but from this shot it appears to include just about every example of toggle, slider, switch, diode, joystick, monitor, button, knob, micro-switch, scope, dial, peddle, plug, jack, meter and a few other gizmos and gadgets not available at Radio Shack.
    Did you notice the pine tree air-freshener hanging from the rear-view?

  14. Fantastic! It’s even got the “Bobko Adapter”, that little plastic tube on the switch on that lower-left-center panel. Nice!

  15. I am thrilled to see this, and why ? Instantly you can see where NASA learned from it’s past mistakes. No more searching through menu’s for the off button, or the ‘shut it down ffs button’, every thing is without micro processing, linked direct, and mercifully analogue. Well done, if cars today followed the same principle, we would spend less time and money. Well done NASA. prodprof.

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