Cushion, Backrest, Orbiter Commander-Pilot Seat, Shuttle

Display Status:

This object is on display in the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

This backrest seat cushion fit into place on the original commander-pilot seats in the Space Shuttle flight deck, or cockpit. At the time, the astronauts wore fabric coveralls and often were seated in the orbiter for hours before launch. Made of foam with a sturdy quilted fabric cover, cushions gave the astronaut a comfort layer on the metal aircraft seat frame. When the heavy original seat frames were replaced by lighter-weight ones and crews switched to pressure suits for launch and entry, the cushion style changed accordingly. NASA gave the Museum two of the original seats, but without the padded cushions. Fortunately, the California Science Center had a set and generously donated it to the Museum.