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  Another missing Gemini boilerplate (205)

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Author Topic:   Another missing Gemini boilerplate (205)
John Charles
Member

Posts: 316
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 11-08-2008 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone knows the whereabouts of the "second" Gemini BP (#205) used in the NASA Para-sail/Retrorocket tests of 1964-1965?

The "first" BP from that testing was Gemini BP 206, the well-known "El Kabong I" now refurbished and on display in the Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

But the one I am seeking was Gemini BP 205, nicknamed "Famous Flying Franistan I". Jim Gerard's website indicates that it was previously on display at the White Sands (New Mexico) Space Harbor, but recent correspondence with them indicates that they never heard of it and have no idea of its whereabouts. Both Gemini BP 205 and 206 were built in-house by NASA Manned Spacecraft Center.

Note that, on A Field Guide to American Spacecraft, BP 205 is incorrectly affiliated with the paraglider program. No criticism of Jim -- the Air Zoo mis-identified El Kabong the same way, until I suggested that they correct it, just recently. They said that the people from Washington (presumably the Smithsonian, who loaned it to them) never noticed the mistake.

In fact, the Rogallo paraglider tow-test vehicles -- TTV-1, now in the Udvar-Hazy museum, and TTV-2, now in the National Museum of Scotland -- are a different configuration from the Para-sail test BPs, and were built by North American Aviation. Both are visible at Jim's website.

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John Charles
Houston, Texas

Boggs SpaceBooks
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posted 11-11-2008 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Boggs SpaceBooks   Click Here to Email Boggs SpaceBooks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John,

I don't believe the parasail proposal was ever tested, but was rejected before that. Are you referring to the paraglider program?

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Donald & Tamara Boggs
Boggs SpaceBooks
http://boggsspace.com

John Charles
Member

Posts: 316
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 12-01-2008 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Boggs SpaceBooks:
Are you referring to the paraglider program?
See, that is exactly my point!

The Gemini Land Landing System, consisting of a Para-Sail plus landing rockets, was tested in Texas in 1964-1965, and actually completed its demonstration tests before the Rogallo paraglider overcame its technical issues and also demonstrated its successful capabilities, at Edwards AFB in California.

But the widespread impression is that the parasail and paraglider programs were the same, and that the El Kabong boilerplate was used in Rogallo tests. This is probably because no-one, forty years later, can imagine that there were two parallel land-landing systems being tested simultaneously, both using Gemini-style boilerplates, both hoping to be used for some of the final manned Gemini flights, both managed out of NASA MSC, and both in direct competition with each other!

Fascinating story, and not the only such one I've come across, with so many unbelievable elements.

------------------
John Charles
Houston, Texas

Boggs SpaceBooks
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posted 12-03-2008 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Boggs SpaceBooks   Click Here to Email Boggs SpaceBooks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The August 31 1963 entry in Project Gemini; A Chronology states that the GPO (Gemini Project Office) was investigating the parasail concept (p.109). On the next page there is a sketch of the posposed system (NASA Photo S-64-481). There is a further not that the GPO briefed NASA HQ on September 6th at which point it was decided to abandon this system. So any tests should have been before September 1963.

I can't put my fingers on a list of Gemini boilerplates, but I know we have that somewhere.

We'd like to follow up on this. Can you provide some sources?

Best wishes

------------------
Donald & Tamara Boggs
Boggs SpaceBooks
http://boggsspace.com

John Charles
Member

Posts: 316
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 12-04-2008 10:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Boggs SpaceBooks:
We'd like to follow up on this. Can you provide some sources?
Don, despite the GPO decision, MSC continued with the parasail program independently. (Just like von Braun bootlegged a neutral buoyancy simulator at MSFC even after HQ assigned that responsibility to MSC.) Several reports are available online, especially at Bob Andrepont's PDF site. Here is a good one, documenting the post-1963 parasail testing.

I am trying to develop a chronological history of the parallel paraglider and parasail efforts, and of the nominal recovery system development for Gemini, all three of which were apparently running in parallel.

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John Charles
Houston, Texas

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