1/12/98 - MITS #5

A major part of our training this week was our final MITS (Mission Integrated Training Simulation). Each MITS is a high-fidelity simulation of a day of payload operations. During flight these activities are run from the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC) in coordination with Mission Control Center (MCC). For a MITS, the POCC is running, but MCC is not. MCC will join us for a series of JIS╣s (Joint Integrated Simulation) which will occur in February and March.

During a MITS we train as we fly. We wear shuttle clothes, eat shuttle food, and communicate with the POCC using air-ground communications. Problems (both unplanned and those developed by a group of fiendishly clever simulation supervisors) dictate that the crew, the POCC, and scientists monitoring their experiments at ARC and JSC, work together to quickly develop effective solutions. Extended time in microgravity is a precious and valuable resource - a MITS helps the entire team learn how to use this time wisely.

Other events this week included the second of four NBL runs for our contingency EVA members. Though we should never need EVA capability during Neurolab, the crew will be prepared if the need arises. Free hours were spent practicing a number of experiments sponsored by ARC. ARC training time is consolidated to minimize travel from ARC to JSC for supporting personnel. This usually means that ARC hits town like a hurricane, and this week was no exception. Given the complexity of the experiments being conducted, we appreciate the chances to build and maintain our proficiency.

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