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  Mercury spacecraft aft heat shield

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Author Topic:   Mercury spacecraft aft heat shield
dfox
Member

Posts: 196
From: Scarsdale, NY, United States
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 04-08-2013 10:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dfox   Click Here to Email dfox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I purchased flown "Faith 7" aft heat shield section from the April 2013 Goldberg auction. I had been interested in acquiring Mercury related hardware for some time as it so rarely seen.

I am interested to read more about the structure of the heat shield and in particular how it interfaced with the landing bag. I suspect the metal knob protruding from the heat shield must be part of that system.

Any leads on relevant diagrams or photographs?

"Faith 7" (MA-9) carried Gordon Cooper on the final Mercury flight, May 15, 1963. The heat shield measures 6.5" long, 3" wide, 1.5" at its highest section, 1" deep at the narrowest area. This appears to be cut from the outer edge.

There is a metal "bolt" which may be screwed in. Also, three screw holes on a tapered section.

Built of honeycombed aluminum with many layers of glass-fiber material, the heat shield would boil away as the Mercury capsule descended through the atmosphere. As the silica material (fiberglass) melted, it deposited a white residue on its surface, resembling icing.

Includes a consignor's handwritten, signed COA that reads in part, "This section of aft heat shield is from Mercury Capsule #20, "Faith 7", Gordon Cooper, Pilot. Given to me in 1963."

LateApex
Member

Posts: 36
From: Chicago
Registered: Oct 2012

posted 04-09-2013 12:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LateApex     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations on the purchase. Nice piece.

David Carey
Member

Posts: 408
From:
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 04-09-2013 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This thread might have some useful info; scroll down a bit...

dfox
Member

Posts: 196
From: Scarsdale, NY, United States
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 04-10-2013 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dfox   Click Here to Email dfox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LateApex:
Congratulations on the purchase. Nice piece.
Thank you very much!
quote:
Originally posted by David Carey:
This thread might have some useful info; scroll down a bit...
Thanks. That is very interesting information.

Joel Katzowitz
Member

Posts: 445
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 04-18-2013 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a beautiful piece, I was drooling when I saw it in the catalog. I have also done extensive research on Mercury heat shields and am convinced yours is the real deal. Congratulations.

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 1086
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 04-20-2013 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it looks real to me.

dfox
Member

Posts: 196
From: Scarsdale, NY, United States
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 04-20-2013 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dfox   Click Here to Email dfox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for this artifact.

I have not come across much in the way of images or technical references pertaining to the Mercury heatshield. If you have links or pointers to sources that you can share I would enjoy reading them.

Joel Katzowitz
Member

Posts: 445
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 04-20-2013 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd be happy to share my research with you David.

I have technical diagrams illustrating how the heat shield mates with the spacecraft (via the metal stud on your sample). I also have some great images of MA-9 that clearly show the relationship of the heat shield and the impact bag. It'll take me a few days to package it up and then I'll send you a link.

If anyone else is interested shoot your email address to me and I'll copy you.

dfox
Member

Posts: 196
From: Scarsdale, NY, United States
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 04-20-2013 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dfox   Click Here to Email dfox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That would be great! Thanks.

I have found that one of the great pleasures associated with collecting is using the acquired (or desired) object as the focal point of new learning.

All times are CT (US)

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