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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Mercury, Gemini, Apollo astronaut transfer vans

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Author Topic:   Mercury, Gemini, Apollo astronaut transfer vans
astro-nut
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Posts: 512
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 06-18-2011 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do any fellow collectSPACE members have any information and/or photos of the astronaut transfer vehicles used for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo eras?

I know that the current Astrovan/Airstream has been in service since STS-9 (1983).

Any photos or information would be greatly appreciated.

alanh_7
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Posts: 889
From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 06-18-2011 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the astronaut vans is on display at the Apollo Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center.

I may be wrong but I also heard Tom Hanks production of "From the Earth to the Moon" paid to have one of the Apollo era vans refurbished for use in filming the show. I am not sure if this is the same van on display at the Saturn V museum.

APG85
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Posts: 241
From:
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posted 06-18-2011 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What will happen to the current Van when the Shuttle retires? Any interior pictures?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-18-2011 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The current Astrovan was initially offered to museums as part of NASA's on-going artifact disposition process but it was soon thereafter withdrawn to be saved for use for the next program.

This Behind the Scenes video from NASA has a footage of the STS-131 crew riding on the Astrovan.

FullThrottle
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Posts: 88
From: Seattle, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 06-18-2011 06:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FullThrottle   Click Here to Email FullThrottle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a set of five pictures that I took of the Astrovan parked in the KSC Saturn V Center. I also had a rear taillight and door pic and a front head on but I can't find them on my computer. If you want/need original sized pics of any of these let me know.

APG85
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posted 06-19-2011 07:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any interior shots of the current van?

Rusty B
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Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 06-20-2011 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking at old photos it appears that the Project Mercury astronaut transfer van was a semi-truck with a modified trailer.

Skylon
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posted 06-21-2011 06:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When was the old van last used? I've seen pictures of it used for STS-1. I'd guess it remained in use for the other OFT missions, and maybe STS-5 and 6.

ea757grrl
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Posts: 555
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 06-21-2011 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by APG85:
Any interior shots of the current van?
This article appears to have a picture of the current van's interior. Interesting background text, too.

astro-nut
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Posts: 512
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 06-23-2011 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes the Mercury transfer van was a semi with a modified trailer, but does anyone know what kind of semi and modified trailer it was and what has become of it? Any information on the Gemini crew transfer van would be helpful.

I know that the Apollo van was used from Apollo 7 until STS-6. STS-7 and STS-8 used an RV camper type of vehicle. The current Astrovan was used since STS-9.

It would of have been neat to see all the astronaut transfers vehicle in a museum lined up in order of their use. Thank you and still hoping to find information on the Gemini astronaut transfer vehicle. Thanks again.

astro-nut
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Posts: 512
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 06-24-2011 08:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another question with regards to these vehicles is does any collectSPACE member have any models of these vehicles or know where one might be able to purchase one at?

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-25-2011 01:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The only shuttle era astrovan replica I know of comes with the 1/144 Bandai shuttle replica I believe. I've thought about scratchbuilding one, but it is so different from other RVs out there I don't know exactly what to start with.

PeterO
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Posts: 191
From: Rochester, NH
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 06-25-2011 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of Dragon Wings' 1/400 scale Orbiter/SCA combos came with four NASA buses. They're minuscule, only 0.7" long, but nicely done. Two have "worms" on each side, and two have vectors.

Rusty B
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Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 06-25-2011 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This YouTube video has a sequence showing the Gemini 5 astronauts boarding the Gemini astronaut transfer van upon exiting the suiting trailer at LC-16, the van heading to LC-19 and the exiting the van at LC-19. This happens between 2:37 - 3:45 on the video.

Still photos of Gemini astronaut transfer vans (Gemini 8 and Gemini 11 appear to be different from earlier vans).

  • s65-27488: Gemini 4 exits LC-16 suiting trailer to board van
  • s65-29607: Gemini 4 exits LC-16 suiting trailer to board van
  • s65-27487: Gemini 4 exits van and on way to LC-19 elevator
  • s65-29660: Gemini 4 exits van and on way to LC-19 elevator
  • s65-28737: Gemini 5 exits van and on way to LC-19 elevator
  • s65-57962: Gemini 6 exits van and on way to LC-19 elevator
  • s66-24447: Gemini 8 exits different van (shape different) and on way to LC-19 elevator
  • s66-50780: Gemini 11 exits different van (shape different) and on way to LC-19 elevator

APG85
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Posts: 241
From:
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posted 06-26-2011 07:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the Kennedy Center Media Gallery there are some really nice shots of the current Transfer Van at Pad 39A in preparation for STS-135. The shots were just posted the other day...

golddog
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Posts: 176
From: australia
Registered: Feb 2008

posted 06-26-2011 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Totally off topic but did you notice that Pete Conrad is wearing three watches, whilst Stafford and Schirra have Air Force and Navy wings respectively attached to their PGA's (you'll have to load the high res pics to see).

Rusty B
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Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
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posted 06-27-2011 04:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are photos of the Project Mercury astronaut transfer van. The tow vehicle looks like it came from the military.

Rusty B
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Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 06-28-2011 06:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It appears that the Mercury Chimps used the Astronaut van before the astronauts did.

"Chimpanzee "Ham" during preflight activity with one of his handlers prior to the Mercury-Redstone 2 test flight which was conducted on January 31, 1961. Here he is seen leaving suit trailer."

SpaceDust
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Posts: 94
From: Louisville, Ky USA
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 07-27-2011 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceDust     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems even after this vehicle became a museum piece the NASA logo on it changed.

This photo of the transfer van I took in May of 1990 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. When it became a part of the Apollo/Saturn V Center, was it restored back to the meatball to look like it did during the Apollo program?

Does anyone have the history behind this and how many other Apollo museum artifacts have been altered even after reaching museum status?

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

posted 07-27-2011 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the astronaut transfer van looks better with the NASA meatball logo.

Skylon
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Posts: 140
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 07-27-2011 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceDust:
When it became a part of the Apollo/Saturn V Center, was it restored back to the meatball to look like it did during the Apollo program?
Looks like, as evidenced by this walkout photo from Apollo 10.

LM-12
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Posts: 809
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 01-15-2012 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rusty B:
Looking at old photos it appears that the Project Mercury astronaut transfer van was a semi-truck with a modified trailer.
Here is some British newsreel footage showing Cooper and the transfer van outside Hangar S and arriving at Pad 14.

There are also some great video clips of the Gemini transfer van and the suiting-up trailer at Pad 16 on this website.

tetrox
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Posts: 92
From: London England
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-15-2012 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tetrox   Click Here to Email tetrox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really enjoyed the Pathe link kindly linked by LM-12 which includes the Mercury astronaut transfer van. I wonder if anyone could let me know the type of truck used to tow the trailer shown in the clip?

I have tried Google and it looks similar to a "Consolidated 123" but I would be grateful if anyone could help me identify it.

LM-12
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Posts: 809
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 01-15-2012 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is another good view of the Mercury astronaut transfer van and truck at the 1:19 point of this Glenn newsreel clip.

LM-12
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Posts: 809
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-18-2013 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by golddog:
Stafford and Schirra have Air Force and Navy wings respectively attached to their PGA's
Conrad and Gordon had Navy patches on their Gemini 11 spacesuits.

All times are CT (US)

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