Shuttle Cockpit Construction Progress

(Most recent updates at the bottom)

Last Updated October 12th, 2007

Yes, I'm building a mockup of the Space Shuttle Cockpit. I plan on using it as a platform for running Orbiter Space Simulator. So far, the sub panels have been created and printed out. Full panels have been constructed from foam board and loosly assembled. Given the size of this mockup, it will be moved to the basement level and completed there.

Updates are at the bottom. Please send any feedback or questions to and thanks for looking!

Here is just a quick shot of my workspace. Here I'm working on the overhead panels.


Here are the panels all cut and awaiting to be assembled.


I've assembled the center and forward panels and tested them for fit. Now it is time to paint the boards.


The boards are all painted and look really good. The problem is, they have warped. Most of them will have to be re-enforced from the back to straighten them back out.


Well, I sort of went a bit crazy. I already had the panels printed our while at work, so I went ahead and spray-glued them in place, and put the panels in place briefly with tape. I'm pretty pleased.


Here are the Commanders L1 and L2 panels.


Here is a view of the forward panels and the center panels.


Here are the Pilot's R1 and R2 panels.


June 14th, 2007 Update

Well, the foam board is not going to work out . . . too light. I will be replacing all current foam boards with either 1/8" plywood or hardboard - I haven't decided yet.

So the next step is to build the front and side support that will support the 6 front window panels. The initaial cage will be built from 2x2 boards (or I might use 1x2 boards) and will also be used to support the overhead panels. Here are my plans to date. You can click on these two images for a larger image.

The Basement has been all cleared out, fish tanks have been relocated, and I hope to have this built by the weekend. Feedback is always welcome!


June 15th, 2007 Update

I finished the first frames for what I'm calling the "CAGE". More tomorrow . . .


June 18th, 2007 Update

Okay, I'm almost finished assembling the cage. I have to say, I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. This is going to be much larger than I thought it was going to be. I'm starting to think that perhaps I am in over my head. Mabie I should just build a nice DG Cockpit.

I'm going to take a few days off, and then finish the supports for the top part, and then start on fitting the overhead panels.



July 2nd , 2007 Update

Well, I had said a few days ago, that I would be buiding a much smaller cockpit intead of the full Atlantis cockpit . . . but I've changed my mind. I will definitely be building the full flight deck. All panels have been finished in wood. Now, they just need to be sanded, beefed up with back supports and painted. Once painted, I can mount the LDC panels behind the F6 panel.

This second picture shows how I am going to use 2 IBM 760EL notebooks to act as the two MFD displays for the cockpit. Here, one of them is shown running the ExternalMFD app while also running MaxiVista to combine several PC's to share one workspace.



July 24th , 2007 Update

I have been working on this FOREVER! I tell you the logistics for mounting these LCD screens behind the panel have been a pain in the behind. I finally managed to get two of them mounted.

I am using MaxiVista to spread the workspace from the main computer onto the two notebook computers mounted behind the forward panel. My main issue now is trying to get the buttons on the ExtMDF application in a color other than white.

The diplays are a little crooked and need to be straightened out, and then it's time to start working on the glare shields.



July 28th , 2007 Update

Today I finished the glare shield panels (Panels F4 and F5, I think). I think they turned out okay. If you look closely, you can see they are not quite perfect . . . the dimensions are a little off.

I will finish the heads up displays tomorrow . . . I have no idea why I made them separately.

P.S. - Mine is on the right! :)




July 31st , 2007 Update

I can't believe it - I finished the preliminarly overhead panel structure. They are out of foamboard for now. Once I have their size all figured out, I may re-do them in wood, but may not.

I've included a composite picture (two pictures stiched together) showing the view from the back. This also shows the LCD setup for the MFDs.



August 3rd , 2007 Update

Okay, I finished the glare shield lights. This isn't a good picture, so click on the image to get a better view.

Finishing the windows this weekend, and then getting ready to mount the joystick.


August 11th , 2007 Update

I've been working on this thing for about 8 hours, and it is almost finished.

This is the keypad on panel C2. Momentary switches were mounted on the front, and thier leads were fed through to the back.

On the back, they were hooked up to a GPWiz board to allow it to interface with the computer running Orbiter.

All that is left to do is mount the key faces with labels to the top of the momentary switches, and it's all done.

32 switches . . . 64 wires . . . 128 solder points . . . I'm only doing one of these!


August 13th , 2007 Update

This one took considerably less time. I think the experience of working on the Keypad for panel C2 gave me some experience.

This is the overlay for the IBM laptop screens that are acting as my MFD's. Since the display area (6.5 x 6.5) is much smaller than the laptop screens, the buttons can't pass through the actual panel (cuz the LCD extends well beyond the boundries of the screen area)

Therefore, the buttons had to be super slim, and the wiring had to be carefully routed so the overlay would be as thin as possible.

I managed to keep this one under 1/4" thick.

Only one more to do.



August 29th , 2007 Update

Today I removed the overhead panel, and painted it. I also cut out the holes for the two overhead lights and the additional glareshield light for the left and right side panels.

I've also included a shot of the forward panels. I added another MFD. I don't know why I have to have three, but that is the max that MaxiVista supports, so I figured I might as well have the max!

Were getting ready to leave on vacation for the long weekend, but plan to finish painting when I get back.

Were getting very close!!!


October 12 th , 2007 Update

Well, it has been a while since the last update.

- I finished the painting.
- Installed the throttle for the CDR.
- Attached the joystick for the CDR.
- Installed the finished keypad.
- Installed the bezels for the MFDs.
- Applied the remaining panels.
- Added panel F1.

I have to admit . . . I'm not as pleased as I wanted to be. The panels were printed on paper that was too thin, and they wrinkled when they came in contact with the glue. Also, I don't know what I did, but the glare shield won't line up properly.

The LCDs were removed to keep them from getting paint on them. Next they need to be re-installed. Then I have to finish the programming of the MFD bezels and the keypad. Also, need to put a handle on the throttle and apply the switches/panels for panels F3 and F4.

Hope to run the first live simulation by next weekend at the latest.