On May 19, 2000, the space shuttle Atlantis launched with the very first “glass cockpit.” This was one of several big upgrades that were made to the space shuttle before the mission STS-101. NASA called this new and improved version of Atlantis “the most updated space shuttle ever.”
The new glass cockpit had 11 flat-panel, full-color display screens. These replaced four old-school, cathode-ray tube displays and 32 different gauges and indicators. Not only did the cockpit look way cooler than it did before, but the new displays also made it easier for astronauts to pilot the shuttle. The newer technology also used less power and weighed 75 lbs. less than the old cockpit, which helped to reduce the shuttle’s fuel consumption.
NASA actually took several measures to reduce the weight of Atlantis, and it weighed about 30,000 lbs. less after all the upgrades.
For STS-101, six NASA astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut flew Atlantis to the International Space Station to deliver supplies and do some construction and maintenance.
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