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  Mercury-Atlas 8: Sigma 7 exterior features

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Author Topic:   Mercury-Atlas 8: Sigma 7 exterior features
Barry Ferguson
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From: Rocky Mount, VA USA
Registered: Feb 2011

posted 02-05-2011 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Barry Ferguson   Click Here to Email Barry Ferguson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know what the tricolored triangle is that is on the shingle below the periscope door?

PeterO
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From: Rochester, NH
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posted 02-06-2011 07:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would also be interested to find out. The marking is still clearly visible and only slightly worn on Sigma 7 at the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

PeterO
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From: Rochester, NH
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posted 02-06-2011 07:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sigma 7 had ablative test panels installed around the parachute section, replacing most of the original metal panels. I've never found any photos showing the panels installed on the spacecraft prior to launch. They were always covered over, until apparently the day of the launch.

Has anyone seen any photos, preferably color, of the installed panels? There are a few full-stack color photos, but of course the resolution of the panels is very poor.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Barry Ferguson
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From: Rocky Mount, VA USA
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posted 02-06-2011 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Barry Ferguson   Click Here to Email Barry Ferguson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a few launch shots that show the panels as white, tan and brown but as you said very low resolution. There are a couple of frames on Spacecraft Films that show one panel during prelaunch checks that looks to be a brown color. There are also a few black and white photos that shows shades but that's about it.

As far as the Sigma 7 triangle, I talked with Cal Moser that was a technician with McDonnell at the time and he said he didn't know what it was but he was the one that painted the US flags on Sigma 7 and of course about Cece Bibby doing the logo. I had sent him a picture of the capsule being unwrapped to be hoisted up onto the atlas, which shows the triangle that is covered with a square of plastic. He said the guy in the photo was George Baldwin a lead technician and that he would probably know what it was. I haven't been able as yet to find him but still looking.

PeterO
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From: Rochester, NH
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 06-24-2012 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This thread contains a quote from Cece Bibby about testing various paint types on the Aurora 7 logo. Is it possible the triangle on Sigma 7 was a paint test also? It contains all three colors that were used on the standard Mercury (and subsequent Gemini) markings.

divemaster
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From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 06-24-2012 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know it sounds somewhat silly, but why would NASA want to know how "paint" holds up under reentry temperatures? In the early 1960's, that may have been an issue (for whatever reason) but I doubt that they would care today. Then again, look at the Lovelace clinic tests...

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

posted 06-24-2012 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, perhaps not reentry heat, but paint makes a pretty good form of passive thermal control, which is one reason why both Gemini and Apollo used white painted elements (and in Gemini's case, there was concern that too much white would cool the service module too much, so they added black pinstripes to the white modules).

As for a possible "reentry test" the X-15-A2 used a pink spray on ablative material covered with a white paint. So since the only other vehicle that might see similar heat loads would be a reentry vehicle of some kind (just don't stick it in the direct reentry path though), sure.

The Air Force was also doing their X-20 Dyna-Soar development at the time as well and we KNOW how Air Force brass tended to be a bit anal about the appearance of their vehicles. So while I admit it is a bit of a stretch, it isn't outside the realm of possibility for paint tests to perhaps be done.

Colonel McCauley
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posted 02-15-2015 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colonel McCauley   Click Here to Email Colonel McCauley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When "Sigma 7" aka Mercury Atlas-8 flew, in addition to the logo painted below the spacecraft window by artist Cece Bibby, another graphic was painted on the reverse side, just below the periscope door.

I have a vague memory of this coming up some time in the past, but I don't recall exactly what, if anything, was decided.

Thanks to any/all who reply!

Sigma 7 preflight 1962:

Sigma 7 on display at the Astronaut Hall of Fame 2003:

Editor's note: Threads merged.

star51L
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From: Vilano Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 02-15-2015 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star51L   Click Here to Email star51L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After some research, Wikipedia I believe has nailed it. Seems it's a primitive version of an old Phi Sigma Kappa logo and Wally was a member.

Colonel McCauley
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posted 02-15-2015 07:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colonel McCauley   Click Here to Email Colonel McCauley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the reply...

I agree Wally was a member of PSK - and hopefully you're right, but their colors are given as red, white and black. The Sigma 7 logo colors are red, white and blue.

While I was searching I didn't come up with any PSK logo shaped like this. Do you have a link?

Lou Chinal
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From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 02-16-2015 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like it was painted on before the spacecraft was mated to the Atlas. Sigma 7 was painted on after it was mated. For what it's worth it had to be done at McDonnell.

PeterO
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From: Rochester, NH
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 02-16-2015 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sigma 7 has always been my favorite Mercury flight, so I'd love to know the answer to this and the other features.

moorouge
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Posts: 2007
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 02-16-2015 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lou Chinal:
For what it's worth it had to be done at McDonnell.

Even to the exclusion of it being done during the initial check-out of the capsule when it first arrived at the Cape?

ColinBurgess
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From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 02-17-2015 05:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I'll soon be tackling the next book in the Springer series on the flight of Sigma 7, I'd be very interested in knowing the answer to this little riddle if any of the sleuths out there can solve it.

PeterO
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Posts: 268
From: Rochester, NH
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 02-17-2015 07:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, if you could find good preflight, color photos of the parachute section ablative panels in situ, that would be something I've been looking for for years. The Apogee book on Sigma 7 has a black and white photo of the panels prior to being attached to the capsule, but that's the only close-up photo I've ever seen of them.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 07-24-2015 09:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a post-flight photo of John Glenn's MA-6 capsule arriving at Grand Turk Island. That looks like some sort of circular design or logo below the "S". Can anyone make out what that is?

PeterO
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Posts: 268
From: Rochester, NH
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 07-24-2015 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like the USS Noa's crew has "zapped" Friendship 7 with the Noa's crest.

LM-12
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Posts: 1543
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 07-24-2015 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sure does look like the Noa crest. Thanks.

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