Tuesday, July 24, 2007

You Belong In a Museum

INDIANA JONES: That belongs in a museum!

VILLAIN: So do you!

There is more to see at the National Air and Space Museum than one could possibly include photos of. The original Apollo 11 spacecraft carried the first astronauts to lunar orbit and back. These Apollo capsules returned in such good shape that there was talk of refurbishing and sending them back in Space. If that were done, the Shuttle would not have been the first reusable spacecraft. NASA chose this shape for their new Orion spacecraft.

The rocket-powered X-15 was launched from a carrier aircraft and flew to 62 miles, like Spaceship One decades later. Today they share the same Milestones of Flight hall. Benson Aerospace is adapting a straight-wing design for their Dreamchaser spacecraft. Straight wings mean less lift and a higher landing speed, but create far less drag than delta wings. X-15 flightsuits were silver too.

On February 20, 1962 Friendship 7 carried John Glenn on America's first orbital flight. Who can forget the RIGHT STUFF movie when the astronaut candidates first stride out in their shining suits? These spacecraft were so small that Mercury astronauts could be no more than 5' 10". Japan has so much interest in Space that we can expect great things from them. Who wants their picture next?

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Blogger Kea said...

Heh, that first shot is great! I can't wait til they make spacesuits in my size.

11:42 AM  
Blogger nige said...

You're wearing a backback there!

I've a vague memory of reading about the use of lithium hydroxide to remove the CO2 from exhaled air, to enable air to be recycled for longer. Is that the thing the astronauts had to build in Apollo 13 after the accident with the air supply? Or is it used in individual backpacks to prolong the life of the oxygen supply?

How long will should the air supply last, and are you going to have to test it in a big water tank to simulate moving around in low gravity?

12:33 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Kea, future suits can be custom fit. Going back to the Moon is worthwhile if only to let women have our chance. Why should men have all the fun?

Nige, on a hot DC day many people asked "Are you hot in there?" No, for that is a working backpack and the air conditioning was running. This suit also allows use of a smaller PLSS backpack.

As with the current Shuttle PLSS, there is room for two main oxygen tanks of 4 hours each and two emergency tanks of 30 minutes each. These were not installed because it is difficult to bring oxygen tanks on aeroplanes. The Apollo backpacks used lithium hydroxide to remove excess CO2.

Assuming the funding keeps coming, future plans include testing the suit in a "vomit comet" aircraft. If anyone out there has a neutral buoyancy facility, that would help too!

4:44 PM  
Blogger nige said...

So you had personal air conditioning! That's really cool.

12:56 AM  
Blogger mark drago said...

don't you sometimes feel that you were born too early? I do what wonders the future may hold.

4:14 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

The future will indeed hold both wonders and terrors, but this time is very exciting.

8:49 PM  
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10:55 PM  

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