I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S

During a trip to Seattle last week, I spent a Sunday afternoon checking out the inside of a space shuttle cockpit. This was one of the coolest things I've done in a while.

I took the tour at Seattle's Museum of Flight, a Boeing-backed museum that's just extremely cool. I mean, look, they have a room filled with this:

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


And this...

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


And, of course, this...

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


A museum like that deserves a space shuttle or something that might even be cooler than a space shuttle, a space shuttle trainer...

See, other cities in America received space shuttles last year. That's nice. Those cities got actual spaceships. Seattle got a full-scale training spaceship that used to be in Texas. Every astronaut, the Museum of Flight tour guides told me, trained in this thing.

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


Here's the advantage of your city getting a space shuttle trainer instead of a space shuttle. Regular people like you and me get to go inside.

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


You pay extra for this. A whopping $10. Totally worth it. You crawl in and can access two of the three levels inside the command module. The command module is where the seven astronauts in a shuttle crew sit during take-off. Then, for two weeks, it's where they eat, sleep, work and go to the bathroom. It's cramped in there and probably makes them ache to go outside.

I crawled in and first went to the top level, where the pilot and commander sit during take-off along with two others astronauts.

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


It's pretty high up.

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


It's also really tiny. I'm barely 5'6".

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


Let's take a look at some hastily-shot video. The tour guide wanted me to go downstairs. But I had to shoot this for you fine folks.


Could you fly this? Could master all 2,100 switches and controls...

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


The shuttle's flight controls are duplicated for the pilot and commander. Then there's a third set behind them, facing the opposite direction. That's for when you're docking with the International Space Station. You know how that is.

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


To the right of that are the controls for the Canada Arm. Check out the Canadian Flag. Oh!

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


That's no movie set back there, by the way. That's the rest of the shuttle (trainer).

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


That's the cool stuff upstairs. The next level down has higher ceilings but isn't exactly a luxury suite. It's so cramped that I couldn't get a good shot of the whole tiny space. Here I am in what's about half of the room:

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


Check out this kitchen...

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


What's fancier than that kitchen? This bathroom. A guide told us that micro-gravity makes going to the bathroom a 45-minute process...

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


Here's where you'd sleep...

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


You may have noticed colored squares in some of these images. They're velcro patches for attaching tools, lest those tools float away. The patches are color-coded to identify whether the tools attached belong to NASA or private companies.

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


When it's time to go to the cargo bay or up to the ISS, astronauts go though this little hole:

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


On the other side, they wind up here...

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


Reverse shot of that. Notice how the cargo gets way more room than the astronauts? The shuttle was made for hauling freight.

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


The Canada Arm is thicker than I thought it'd be...

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


That's pretty much the tour.

You can walk around and see some related exhibits. Video game fans might even spot a familiar face.

I Took This Amazing Tour Inside the Space Shuttle. So Should You.S


I highly recommend that you check this out, too. If you're in Seattle, go!

To contact the author of this post, write to stephentotilo@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo