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  Spacecraft boilerplates in private collections

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Author Topic:   Spacecraft boilerplates in private collections
maltedfalcon
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Posts: 2
From: Sacramento, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2001

posted 09-26-2001 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for maltedfalcon   Click Here to Email maltedfalcon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, it's not a 'collection', but I have one piece of Gemini hardware: a boilerplate space capsule. If anyone has info on other Gemini BPs please let me know.

Ben
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Posts: 1861
From: Daytona Beach, FL
Registered: May 2000

posted 09-26-2001 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're the guy I read about not 20 minutes ago in the newest Air and Space magazine (November 2001, pg. 12) that came today. Now that's a coincidence!

Vincent
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From: Sunnyvale
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 08-05-2004 01:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Vincent   Click Here to Email Vincent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If anyone could give me more information on my space capsule, it would be appreciated. MSC 313 is stamped on it in two places.

fuzzfoot
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From:
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 08-05-2004 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fuzzfoot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Typically, MSC is an acronym for Manned Spaceflight Center. It was later changed to JSC - Johnson Spaceflight Center.

Or, it may be Mission System Contract 313.

Capcom1
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Posts: 55
From: Monroe, WA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 08-10-2004 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Capcom1   Click Here to Email Capcom1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't help with ID, but how about some details? Where'd you get it? Is it just a shell? Did it come with any hatches? That's awesome.

Spacepsycho
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Posts: 755
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 09-10-2004 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a website I ran into that's the most comprehensive listing of all US spacecraft disposition and it's an extremely well done site. You should be able to find out more info on your boilerplate Gemini here or email the gentleman directly.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-01-2008 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I stumbled onto this thread in a web search and was thrilled to find other owners of BPs. I was beginning to think I was the only private owner of an BP. I was most intrigued with the ID plates. I have not found any in my capsule and have spoken with the staff at the National Air and Space Museum who have several BPs and they have not found any on their units either.

Where the the others data plates (total 4) located? Are they thin aluminum? How are they attached? Are any numbers actually struck onto the hull or are they all attached plates.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-04-2008 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

This Apollo BP was donated by Rockwell to COSI (Columbus Museum of Science and Industry) in the late 70's. The museum auctioned off this capsule in 1980 where a benefactor purchased it and subsequently loaned it to The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis. Eventually it ended up in a smaller private military armor and fighter aircraft museum in Indiana where it sat outdoors for many years. I purchased from this museum about 3 years ago.

The first museum COSI was not helpful in obtaining additional info it may have received from Rockwell. I cannot find data plates on the inside hull. I fear that one of the many owners may have stripped them off for novelty. Is there any place where the numbers are struck on the hull?

I have additional photos to post of the top and interior views.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-04-2008 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

View from the top. The transfer tube from capsule to LM is sealed. Some (monitoring?) equipment was mounted in the tube space and the swing up door has recesses to hold what I imagine to be cylindrical devices. Anyone have top view photos of BPs?

The top of the capsule also has 4 anchor points for the escape rocket still in place.

This photo shows the other half of the top where a smaller device was mounted.

This is an interior shot. Unfortunately the former owner had a "professional" sandblasting crew sandblast the interior and exterior for new paint. I imagine any remaining data plates and original paint was destroyed in the process. Some interior metal work was also removed to "make room" inside as the former owner put this capsule on his lake to serve as a diving platform for his friends.



What is the function of this "recessed grab handle"? It is located on the upper/forward edge of the heat shield. It is about 10" square. The bar section is about 2" in diameter.

Does it function as a lock down receiver for coupling the CM to it's booster section, possibly for assembly and roll-out testing.

I have photos of BPs being used for this.

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2270
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 01-04-2008 11:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The exterior of this boilerplate looks like a dead ringer to one that the Strategic Air and Space Museum near Ashland, NE has on display. Yes they also have an Apollo Block 1 capsule (Spacecraft 009 although it might be a 009/011 hybrid or 011), but for the past three years they have also had a boilerplate on hand as well.

This BP is all white in color, although it is obvious it has been repainted since I can see signs of chipped off paint under the new gloss white paint (possibly Dupont Imron to help seal the exterior). The side hatch is raised like this one and it also has the vent holes at the same positions and the Block 1 style area that houses the parachutes. If both BPs were the same color, they would be twins!

The museum also has a Gemini boilerplate, all gloss black in color. Again, no idea what its origins are since it has no visible dataplate on it. Both of these were left over from a travelling exhibit with (I believe) pieces from the Cosmosphere, such as a full size Gemini replica that looked like a flight capsule and a full sized Mercury replica. Both of those I think might have been made for a traveling exhibit that originally went to Japan. When the exhibit left, the boilerplates remained and sit next to 009 on display (without too much information to say what they are).

E2M Lem Man
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Posts: 829
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 01-08-2008 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man   Click Here to Email E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I am going public about this as I have gotten together with some of our guys that built these Apollos here at the plant in Downey.

At first I thought that it was a later build - as it had a Block II upper deck. But upon seeing the inside one of our guys said that it MIGHT be an early Apollo boilerplate brought up to specs for later recovery tests - and that it MAY NEVER have gotten a builders plate.

Our president said that from the inside spar layout that it was likely an early build, and many of those early ones were sitting around and they pulled them out the line and modified them for other tests to save a few bucks.

But... there might be some ID numbers on the undersides of the sandblasted plates that could yield some info about its heritage.

We may never know.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-09-2008 10:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay thanks for your observations. Is that BP posted on the web?

Jim, thanks for your insight. You certainly have a top notch bunch of guys to draw from- the actual engineers and staff involved with the original development and construction!

I'll send you (and post) more interior photos as requested.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-13-2008 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


I have finally located some numbers on the hull interior. There a 3 sets of numbers in all. They are all struck onto the center upper hull riser. This number is A 36. It is located in the center of the group.

This number, 8 20, is located near the top of the riser. The 8 is formed as 2 round circles but as t rounded triangles pointed toward each other.

48598 is the bottom series of numbers. These characters are done in a odd type.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-13-2008 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

This is the only electronics part I found in the capsule. The formed aluminum plate is about 10" by 5" and sands about 6" tall. The receptacle at the top has 3 holes in the center black rubber portion and has 2 nubs, one at 12 o'clock and one at 7 o'clock to receive a twist and lock connector.



These features are located just below the hatch. Each tube stands about 12" tall and has heavy plates, like giant washers, locked in place with set screws. The center square serves as a perfect step as you climb in through the hatch. Not sure if that is the intention. The other side of this square form is the square recess with the 2" thick bar in the center of it as seen in the above photos.

These features are located directly across from the forward hatch and other above posted ones.

The columns are taller, solid and have larger washers on them although of unequal sizes. I imagine the function of the washers is to balance the craft to a achieve a level attitude in air or water.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 11-08-2008 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've found another BP for my collection. It's a Gemini and coincidentally it's serial number MSC 312 is only one number from the one posted above.

It was with the 79th Rescue Squadron.

The serial Number is struck on the hull and on any panel that is removeable.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 11-08-2008 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It has it's own purpose built skid to transport it securely without having to bind the hull directly when laying down. I'm showing it standing up for better visibility.

The nice thing about the Gemini is that it is just under 8ft wide and 3500lbs so I can bring it to shows unlike the 12'6" Apollo which dictates a whole different game plan to transport.

E2M Lem Man
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Posts: 829
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 11-18-2008 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man   Click Here to Email E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's great! What a neat find! Fantastic!

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 07-25-2014 08:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've finally finished the exterior restoration of the Gemini. Some of the rear panels still have some spotty rust through but will get to them eventually.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 739
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 07-28-2014 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice looking Apollo and Gemini BPs! Now all you need is a Mercury to complete your collection.

Lunar rock nut
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From: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-29-2014 06:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great restoration work. Looks brand spanking new (used)!

Spacepsycho
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Posts: 755
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 07-29-2014 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice job on the restoration of MSC 312. I wish I would have kept it instead of selling it to you back in 2008. I found a Mercury BP a couple of years ago and bought it, but I won't sell it like I did MSC 312.

moorouge
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Posts: 1817
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 08-04-2014 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't know if this helps. The 1200 series of Apollo boilerplates were designed 'in house'. The series were manufactured by a firm called Ace Fabrications in Clute, Texas. They were made of low-carbon steel, sand blasted and coated with Dimecote, an inorganic zinc primer used for corrosion control before being painted. A few were made in Block 1 configuration before being converted to Block 2 at a later date.

Note that Ace Fabrications no longer exists and should not be confused with a firm now operating in the Houston area with a similar name. Unfortunately the company records also disappeared with the demise of the firm.

There was a Rolodex file kept of all the BP-1200 series to track their configuration and changing status. However, this was lost when the Landing and Recovery Division was abolished in 1972.

restoring_a_BP
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Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 09-09-2014 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks everyone for the kind words on the Gemini restoration. I'm now digging into the Apollo interior restoration.

After seeing Apollo BP-12 and Apollo 4, I have, in a forensic archeological way, determined what the welds, brackets and holes inside my Apollo BP were for. Now the internal bits that the former seller had removed from the Apollo can be correctly reinstalled and the the interior decking re-built.

Ray (spacepsycho), did you get the Mercury BP from the LA city auction?

restoring_a_BP
Member

Posts: 29
From: Holden MA USA
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 09-11-2014 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for restoring_a_BP   Click Here to Email restoring_a_BP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ray, please share photos of your Mercury boilerplate!

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