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  281154149093: 1963 NASA Helmet Face Shield

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Author Topic:   281154149093: 1963 NASA Helmet Face Shield
David Carey
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posted 08-26-2013 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks in advance and calling all suit/helmet experts:

Is this item identifiably Mercury Program?

Greggy_D
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posted 08-26-2013 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a related thread about a physically identical visor. The serial numbers are just a few off and your example does not have the stainless bands.

DG27
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posted 08-27-2013 03:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DG27     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The visor in the other referenced thread was a US Navy MK-IV helmet visor and contained the metal pivot rings. The visor in this thread is a blank visor for a USAF HGK-13 helmet. This was the standard pressure helmet for the USAF in the early 1960s. So, not Mercury Program related.

David Carey
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posted 08-27-2013 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Appreciate the info -

Unless I'm missing something (possible!) the 'notch' for the O2 hose appears to have gone away by Cooper's Mercury flight helmet so that was a point of uncertainty relative to the earlier thread on the MK-IV.

Also, there were seemingly similar visors with metal fitments from many of the Gemini helmets including Armstrong's.

The fiberglass 'banding' at the edge seemed a bit skinny compared to the HGK-13 that sold at Heritage last year but photo angles might be a factor there.

It was an experimental item per the listing (don't know if the 'X' of the visor markings might be an indicator of such) so that could explain variations around the theme.

In any case, changes to flight helmets appear even within a given program so I gather it was a constantly-evolving thing. Also from what I understand, there was substantial application/re-use of MK-IV and HGK-13 designs to NASA's various helmets for X-15, Mercury, and Gemini.

Greggy_D
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From: Michigan
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posted 08-27-2013 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
DG27, thanks for correcting me. I was wrong.

DG27
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Registered: Nov 2010

posted 08-28-2013 01:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DG27     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All good points above. All the visors look very similar, basically since the helmets in question are about the same size and shape. It is difficult to tell them apart, so it is the small details that help identify them.

Good point on the Mercury helmet. The earlier Mercury helmets used a pneumatic visor seal so the visor could rotate down closed and the visor seal inflated outward to the visor. In the closed position, the visor cutout rested on top of the edge of the O2 connection boss, so the O2 connection boss did not interfer visor seal as it inflated.

The Cooper helmet for the advanced Mercury spacesuit used a mechanical visor seal, so the visor rotated down, and then as the bailer bar was lowered a cam mechanism pushed the visor inward toward the helmet shell, sealing the visor against the seal on the helmet. Since the O2 connection boss provided an opportunity for the visor the hang up on it as the visor translated inward to the helmet shell, it was moved to the right rear of the helmet away from the visor. Thus no cutout was needed in the visor frame.

However the biggest difference with the visor for the Cooper helmet was the actual pivot point was not in the fiberglas of the visor but in mechanical linkage at the edge of the visor. So the plexiglas and fiberglas part of the visor did not extend around the pivot location for the Cooper helmet visor.

Gemini helmets are somewhat similar in shape and size to the HGK-13 (same company, same vintage) so the visors look very similar, however the sealing methods are different so the visor pivot mechanisms are accordingly different. Although the HGK-13 helmet which was sold in the Heritage auction was really not an X-15 helmet, the clear visor is the same, as well as the helmet shell.

The "X" on the visor is part of the part number, and is the same on all the ones which have surfaced, and matches the ones on production USAF helmets. The companion tinted visor has a similar part number. This spare visor is serial no 447, so a lot of these were made, most of the ones which show up still have the protective coating on the visor.

This is all probably too much information but perhaps someone may find it useful.

Regardless of the specific helmet, these are great visors for any collection.

David Carey
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posted 08-28-2013 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DG27:
This is all probably too much information but perhaps someone may find it useful.

Excellent stuff, not at all, for sure, and thank you.

All times are CT (US)

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