There are three main parts of the orbiter flight deck. The front section contains 9 LCD displays for the Commander and Pilot, the Center panels, and the Left and Right panels. The overhead section contains switches that control the GPCs, Star Trackers, GPS systems, and many other important orbiter systems. Finally, the Aft panels contain switches that control most of the on-orbit equipment.
The Space Shuttle uses a simple system of letters and numbers to show the location of the panel in the flight deck. The systems uses a single letter to show the general location of the panel, followed by the number of the panel (example, A1 is Aft panel #1). There can also be an additonal letter after the number(s), which is usually used to differentiate between two different parts of the same panel (example, R13U is Right panel #13 Upper). The chart below shows the abbreviations of the panel lettering system.
|Primary Location||Letter||Secondary Location||Letter|
The Main panels include 9 out of the 11 LCD panels that show information about the GPCs, the APU, MPS, and OMS systems, and the general information about the orbiter, such as attitude. The center panels contain switches to control the GPC displays, two keypads to enter information into the GPCs, and other misc. systems. The Left (Commander) panels control The Flash Evap system, the Oxygen System, and the Cooling System. The Right (Pilot) Panels control the MPS, APU, Umbillical Doors, H2
and O2 systems, and the fuel cells.
|Front 1||Left 1||Right 1||Center 1|
|Front 2||Left 2||Right 2||Center 2|
|Front 3||Left 3||Right 3||Center 3|
|Front 4||Left 4||Right 4||Center 4|
|Front 5||Left 5||Right 5||Center 5|
|Front 6||Left 6||Right 6||Center 6|
|Front 7||Left 7||Right 7||Center 7|
|Front 8||Left 8||Right 8|
|Front 9||Right 9|
Note: Left panels 9-17 and Right panels 10-18 are located in the aft portion of the flight deck.
The Aft Panels are the place where most of the on-orbit activity takes place. It has 2 LCDs which can show GPC and shuttle information, just like the Main panel LCDs. The RMS, Payload Bay Doors, Radiators, Shuttle heaters, payload latching and many other systems are controlled from here. Facing the rear of the shuttle, one will see a bank of general purpose switches on the right, which are used to deploy satellites. Rendezvous and docking are also controlled from the Aft station.
The Overhead panels are mostly used during the Post-Launch Checklist, and the De-orbit Checklist to prepare specific shuttle systems that are associated with launch and landing. Also, most of the Post-Landing checklist involves the Overhead panels. After launch, many of the systems are turned off because thaey are not needed during the on-orbit mission. During the De-orbit preperations, many of these systems are turned back on. The Low overhead panel (O1) also houses indicators for the Cyro fuels, cabin pressure, and for the flash evap system.