PHOTOS: Inside Endeavour's engine compartment


Posted: March 10, 2012

Enclosed within a maze of work platforms, the shuttle Endeavour has spent most of its life inside one of three Orbiter Processing Facility bays at Kennedy Space Center.

When the orbiter fleet is gone from KSC, the shuttle hangars will be decommissioned and potentially handed over to commercial space firms or other NASA programs. One of the three OPFs will be used by Boeing to assemble their CST-100 commercial crew capsule, if the vehicle is selected in a competition by NASA.

Narrow corridors, steep ladders and extensive support equipment surround the shuttle inside the hangar. They give workers access to virtually every nook of the ship.

When Spaceflight Now collected these photos in early March, Endeavour was without its three main engines, yielding views inside the shuttle's aft compartment, where massive propellant lines, avionics, heavy-duty actuators, and other components reside.

Endeavour's two rear maneuvering rocket pods were also gone.

Engine nozzles and OMS pods will be added to the shuttle before it departs in September for the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where Endeavour will be put on public display.

See our Endeavour mission archive for previous STS-134 coverage.

Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

Inside Endeavour's aft compartment through an access panel. Cryogenic propellant from the shuttle's external fuel tank would enter through the orbiter's belly, then split here to go to each of the main engines. Larger image available for download.


A broader view of the shuttle's aft section. The silver material in the upper part of the image is where one of Endeavour's orbital maneuvering system pods would attach.


Endeavour's aft compartment from the rear, showing where each of the orbiter's three engines would go.


A close-up of a main engine servoactuator, which controls the engine's gimbal to steer the shuttle during launch.


Endeavour's center engine position. The base of the shuttle's vertical tail is visible at top. Larger image available for download.


Engine servoactuators from shuttle Atlantis.


Endeavour's waiting room. This is the checkpoint at the entrance to the white room, which connects to the shuttle through its side hatch.


Flight hardware storage bins.



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