Payload Integration And CITE Testing

Upon arrival of payloads and upper stages at the VPF, their transporters, environmental covers or container, and hoisting fixtures undergo cleaning operations on the concrete apron south of the building with final cleaning in the airlock. Processing of upper stages and payloads within the VPF may vary depending on the type of upper stage involved.

A PAM with mated payloads is moved into the high bay and the environmental cover removed. After visual inspection, the PAM payload is rotated in its handling frame, then hoisted into the VPHD. A payload without an upper stage is installed in the same manner.

Larger upper stages are hoisted into the VPHD, and both KSC- and user-provided access equipment is installed to facilitate access for payload mating to the stages. It is the user's responsibility to rotate the payload to the correct orientation for installation into the VPHD and to provide any payload-peculiar hoisting gear.

Payloads and upper stages may conduct standalone health and status tests utilizing portable test equipment or remote ground checkout equipment prior to CITE testing.

The CITE is a set of KSC hardware and software that simulate all payload interfaces with the Orbiter. CITE tests allow a compatibility check prior to entering the Space Shuttle flow at the pad.

A series of CITE tests, starting with an interface verification test, are conducted to verify all hardware interfaces including redundant paths. The payload owners participate in these tests which are controlled from a CITE control room located in the O&C Building. Orbiter Aft Flight Deck functions to the payload are provided from an Aft Flight Deck Simulator Console located at the top of the VPF workstands.

Most normal and some contingency mission functions are excised in the hardware/software interface verification test in which data, formats and command paths are verified; however, solar panels and antennas will not be deployed.

If required, an end-to-end test will be conducted as an optional service. This test provides the opportunity to verify all command and data links between the Orbiter/upper stage/payload, and the payload grounds stations engage in the mission.

Once these tests are completed, an ordnance systems test is performed, including items such as safe and arm rotation and stray voltage tests. Following this, closeout activities begin and the payloads are readied for their trip to the pad.

Preparation of Vertically Processed payloads for Flight
  1. Arrival and Receiving
  2. Payload Preparation
  3. Payload Hazardous Processing
  4. Upper Stage Processing (OMV, IUS, TOS, PAM)
  5. Payload Integration & CITE Testing
  6. Orbiter Operations
  7. VPF-to-Pad Operations
  8. RSS & PCR Operations
  9. Orbiter Intergration
  10. Launch & Mission
  11. Postlanding Operations

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Last Updated Friday September 1 14:40:31 EDT 1995
Tom Nguyen (
Ernest Cody (
Jim Dumoulin (