The area containing the flight controls. In the space shuttle, it is the forward area of the flight deck, where the pilot and commander sit (the commander on the right). Most instruments are duplicated so both can fly the shuttle. Besides several indicators for attitude, airspeed, and direction, both the pilot and commander have a pistol-grip control column to activate thrusters and change the spacecraft's attitude. While in orbit, however, the manoeuvring controls in the crew station are often used.
The launch of the space shuttle Atlantis in May 2000 marked the replacement of cockpit dials and switches by computer displays, a system known informally as the ‘glass cockpit’. The system will eventually be fitted to all orbiters. A further upgrade to cockpit controls is planned for 2005, with the creation of a ‘smart cockpit’ intended to reduce the pilot's workload.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.