Inside Orbiter Processing Facility-1 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, three excessed fuel cells are on a work bench beneath space shuttle Atlantis. The left orbital maneuvering system, or OMS, pod has been installed onto Atlantis. The OMS provided the shuttle with thrust for orbit insertion, rendezvous and deorbit, and could provide up to 1,000 pounds of propellant to the aft reaction control system.
The OMS is housed in two independent pods located on each side of the shuttle’s aft fuselage. Each pod contains one OMS engine and the hardware needed to pressurize, store and distribute the propellants to perform the velocity maneuvers. Atlantis’ OMS pods were removed and sent to White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico to be cleaned of residual toxic propellant. The work is part of the Space Shuttle Program’s transition and retirement processing of the space shuttle fleet. A groundbreaking was held Jan. 18 for Atlantis’ future home, a 65,000-square-foot exhibit hall in Shuttle Plaza at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Atlantis is scheduled to roll over to the visitor complex in November in preparation for the exhibit’s grand opening in July 2013. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/transition. Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky