|Posted on Oct 18, 2009 06:31:28 PM | Steven Roy | 0 Comments ||
Life on board Pegasus is a mixture of work, mainly checks and servicing of machinery; monitoring the status of the VIP, ET-134 in this case, monitoring the status of the towing operation and filling in the day with opportunities for exercise and relaxing.
The total floor space of the crew quarters is something like living in an RV (with somewhat higher ceilings). Trappings are non existent; the basics for preparing food, personal hygiene and sleeping bunks are provided and would make any Spartan soldier used to sleeping on rocks more than comfortable.
Above the crew quarters is an area equivalent to a foredeck, open to the sea, where large and heavy, linked chain lie on deck waiting to be hooked up to the tow line, whether provided by the tug boats or the Liberty Star or Freedom Star.
Above the foredeck is the bridge; a fully enclosed operations center permitting monitoring the status of the towing operations, monitoring ET-134's safe and happy transit via video and observation of the sea; much smaller than Liberty Star; with fewer electronics.
Once under way a member of the crew stands watch at all times throughout the six day voyage, moving throughout the barge checking running lights, machinery and bilges, the lowest point on the barge, and of course ET.
Behind the crew quarters is the cavernous cargo deck area housing ET-134. The cargo bay or deck is more than sufficient to house ET-134's 154 foot-length, 27 foot-diameter, and 58,000 lbs. Vibration incurred during the transit is recorded throughout the trip, and analyzed after arriving at Kennedy Space Center.
ET-134 is no longer entirely residing its original mobile transporter in quite the same way it arrived on deck. It actually is now suspended or mounted on four large pedestals lifting ET off the transporters' four large wheel assemblies, but at the same time attached at three points to the transporters upper arms and rear structure. This permits ET to ride the seas and absorb motion just like Pegasus; no shifting to port or starboard, fore or aft. ET is taking the second best voyage of its life; waiting for its flight into space.
Tags : ET-134, Michoud Assembly Facility, Pegasus, Steve Roy, barge, external tank, sailing with NASA, space shuttle