Monday, April 3, 2017

NASA: A Human Adventure - The Exhibition (Part 3)

Part 2 Here.

Last in this series. This part features the wide range of replica spacecraft and actual space flown spacecraft accessories. Scale models of various space stations and the Hubble Telescope are also featured here. The highlight is the mock up of the space shuttle cabin areas.

Part 5 - Innovation

Introduction to the Innovation Gallery.
The "Innovation" gallery showcases the spacecraft ranging from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and finally the Space Shuttle. As the demands and requirements of space exploration grew, so did the spacecraft that came to serve the purpose. The American Space Program invests a lot of effort to develop this technology on a step by step development.


Mercury Spacecraft

Introduction to the Mercury Spacecraft
Project Mercury was the United States's response to Yuri Gagarin's spaceflight and the foundation and test bed for later programs. Designed to carry one of the astronauts of the Mercury Seven, Alan Shepard became the first American in space with the suborbital flight on May 5th 1961. John Glenn later orbited the earth on February 20th, 1962 on Friendship 7.
Mock up of John Glenn's Friendship 7 Spacecraft
Viewing thru the plexiglass.
Description of the Mercury Spacecraft and the Liberty Bell 7 Mission.
Continued from above.
Some of the items related to the Mercury Liberty Bell 7 Spacecraft
Description of the items on display.
Close up of the space flown Map of Australia.

Gemini Spacecraft

Description of the Gemini Spacecraft.
With the goal of landing on the Moon before the decade is out, NASA developed the Gemini spacecraft to test out and develop docking procedures and spacewalks that are required for the Apollo program. Unlike the Mercury spacecraft, the Gemini spacecraft itself expands the capacity to two astronauts.
The Gemini Spacecraft.
The hatch of the Gemini Spacecraft open
Up close into the interior
The belly of the Gemini Spacecraft.
From the photo above, the gold fold was on the adaptor section spacecraft is for heat management. It was to protect the spacecraft vital systems while in orbit. The gold foil is known as aluminized Kapton.
The description of the Gemini Spacecraft
Some Gemini related item on display.
Description of the items above
Up close of the Gemini In flight and Sequential checklists.

Apollo Command Module Spacecraft

Introduction to the Apollo Spacecraft
To date, the Apollo Command Module is the only spacecraft to have ever brought humans into lunar orbit. It is also the only component of the Apollo spacecraft to return back to earth.
Apollo Command Module Training Simulator
A peek thru the window showing the three seats.
Description of the Apollo CM.
The Apollo Command Module on display is an actual training simulator interior and a full scale replica of the exterior. At the launch pad, the astronauts would in the CM, in case of a rocket failure during launch, the crew would be able to abort. This same craft was also used for reentry. On 26 May 1969, Apollo 10 set the record for the highest speed attained by a manned vehicle at 39,897 km/h.
Apollo Sea Rescue Basket and part of the Parachute.
Description of the items above.


Skylab

Some of the Skylab related items on display.
Description of Skylab
United States's first space station, Skylab orbited the earth from 1973 to 1979. It was launched using leftover Apollo hardware, the last ever Saturn V launch. Skylab was a response to the series of Soviet Salyut Space Stations. Though it seemed doomed as it was damaged during launch, it was repaired during its first mission and numerous scientific experiments were conducted during its operational life.
1/20 scale model of Skylab.
A replica toilet aboard Skylab
While I was taking photos, someone actually mistaken the space toilet for a ice cream vending machine.... I was like,, "Whatt?"
A replica bed aboard Skylab
The experience and lessons learnt thru Skylab paved the way for the development of the future International Space Station. But unlike the ISS, there were features that are unique to Skylab to boost the comfort and morale of the astronauts; frozen foods were flown as the station had refrigeration and freezer systems and a shower. These features were not included in the ISS.

Space Shuttle Orbiter Vehicle

Space Shuttle Atlantis as view when entering the gallery
Description of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Vehicle
Finally, my favorite and perhaps the most recognizable launch vehicle of NASA's spacecraft, the Space Transportation System (STS), commonly known as the Space Shuttle. It's large role in popular culture was the reason why I greatly admired it and got interested in the American Space Program. Launched in 12 April 1981, the shuttle's role was to fly into low earth orbit and exploit space; sending satellites, become an orbiting laboratory and building a space station among other things in its 135 missions.
Cockpit of the space shuttle.
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The gallery featured only the cabin areas of a mockup "Space Shuttle Atlantis". It was the areas where the astronauts pilot the spacecraft. At other times, it would be their working and living quarters.
Shuttle Atlantis with its simulated TPS tiles.
Close up of the "Rescue" signs of the starboard side of the orbiter.
The exterior of the shuttle is covered with thousands of thermal protection system (TPS) tiles. Made out of silica, it is a reusable and lightweight head shield that protected the orbiter during atmospheric reentry. Despite the advantages of the TPS, it is extremely fragile. One could simply crush a TPS tile by hand.
Shuttle's mid-deck area.
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Some shuttle related items on display.
Description of the items above.
Close up of the Thermal Protection Tiles (TPS)
Shuttle computer and a life vest.
Description of the items above.
A space flown shuttle tire.
Description of the tire..

Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the International Space Station (ISS)

The International Space Station (ISS) and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) were also mentioned in the gallery. The two currently orbiting satellites are playing major roles in space exploration and microgravity research.
Model of the Hubble Space Telescope (1/10)
Description of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
Launched in 1990, Hubble Space Telescope is part of NASA's Great Observatories. Weeks after being deployed from Space Shuttle Discovery, a flaw in the mirror resulted in blurry images. It wa only 3 years later when STS-61 repaired the flaw by adding new optical components to the Hubble. Still in orbit today, the Hubble continues to play a major role in astrophysics and deep space observation.
A model of the International Space Station in its early configuration.
The ISS is a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields.

G-Force Astronaut Trainer

The G-Force Astronaut Trainer Booth
G-Force Astronaut Trainer
I had a chance ride a G-Force trainer, somewhat similar to what astronauts and aviators subject themselves to high levels of acceleration and G-forces. The trainer follows a theme of Gus Grissoms' Mercury-Redstone 4 spaceflight, simulating his 15 minute suborbital spaceflight. The footage of the flight itself is shown inside the capsule. The experience is interesting, as the capsule spins you don't actually feel the dizziness but rather light headed as you enter a brief moment of weightlessness.

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