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  NASA Space Mobile: Space Science Demo Unit

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Author Topic:   NASA Space Mobile: Space Science Demo Unit
mensax
Member

Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 02-08-2003 08:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anybody ever heard of the Space Mobile Program or do you know where I can find more information on it?

I understand it was an educational program, sponsored by NASA, that consisted of a number of vans that traveled the states to educate the youth about the space program. Is this still done today?

KLC
Member

Posts: 48
From: U.P. Michigan
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 02-08-2003 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KLC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I know a little about a program like that. My uncle used to work on that program for NASA in the 70's. Not sure if it is still the same or if it evolved into something else.

The Education Working Group at Johnson Space Center might be able to help with info.

mensax
Member

Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 02-11-2003 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been sent a cool picture of one of the vans... but I sure would like to learn more. What did they have inside?

spaceheaded
Member

Posts: 117
From: MD
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 02-12-2003 07:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceheaded     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! Thanks for taking me back 37 years in an instant. The Space Mobile came to my school one day in 1966 and, by chance, I was one of two or three kids asked to help set up their demos (well, we helped carry the stuff in from the van).

I remember them having a bicycle wheel thing with model rocket engines attached, to demonstrate action and reaction, etc. They also talked of the upcoming Surveyor program, and Apollo, of course. And they had models of various boosters and spacecraft, to help in the show-and-tell.

When we were helping to reload the van at the end of the day, one of the NASA guys gave me a spent rocket motor, with the address of Estes Industries on the side (and the price was there, too, if I am remembering correctly, 25 cents). That kicked off my involvement in model rocketry, and intensified my interest in spaceflight.

Sorry I don't know much else about the program. But I would like to get my hands on that van. Could we consider it 'flown' hardware?

spaceuk
Member

Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 02-12-2003 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I helped the British Interplanetary Society back in mid 60s get one of these NASA Space Mobile vans over here to UK. I still have the original trifold leaflet.

They had torso-size models of Gemini, Apollo CSM, several rocket models like Thor-Delta, Atlas Mercury and some satellite models - OGO, Telstar. The models sat at the front of a big bench. On the bench were a number of chemistry apparatus items.

A short NASA film was shown (can't remember which one) but it was Gemini flight.

Then lecturer would carryout a number of school experiments showing things like gyroscopic motion, gravity. The best one - I thought - was the liquid nitrogen experiment.

He had a real red rose – well it is near Valentine Day – he then promptly dipped it into the liquid nitrogen. Once dipped, then he promptly was able able to crush into umpteen tiny fragments the super cold rose.

He repeated with a tennis ball. He would bounce it couple times, then dip into the liquid nitrogen, then try and bounce again. It shattered!

I should add that the Space Mobile van that came to the UK was a Chevy van - not the one in the image. I think I did a writeup for BIS on this.

KLC
Member

Posts: 48
From: U.P. Michigan
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 02-13-2003 06:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KLC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, I asked my uncle who worked with the Space Mobile program before he went to work at JSC, and he told me that what was in the vans actually depended on what time frame it was.

During Apollo it was of course a lot to do with Apollo, and after that it was packed with science and space experiments that pertained to Skylab, and ASTP as well as the Shuttle, as well as other missions etc.

I was fortunate to see one of the presentations when I was in 3rd grade (yes it was my uncle who conducted it) and I can remember seeing models of rockets, and the shuttle, as well as a spacesuit which they usually asked for a volunteer to wear, or try on the helmet. They talked about Skylab, and then what it was like to live in space.

One thing that I really remember was what would happen if you went outside the airlock without your spacesuit. And at the end of the presentation was talk of the shuttle which at that time they said we could expect in a few more years.

A couple other notes. I showed him the photo of the older '60's model van, and he said it was very interesting. He also told me that his was a newer model, and was red and white as was the NASA color scheme for his time period.

Also, yes, they still continue the program. In fact they actually have some larger vans nowadays.

mensax
Member

Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 02-14-2003 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now if I can get one of those early astronaut Corvettes and this baby (with all the equipment of course), parked in my garage, I'd be one smiling man!

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1578
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 02-18-2012 06:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whatever happened to the NASA Space Mobiles that used to go round schools?

This is from 1965-ish when one of these visited my school:

Editor's note: Threads merged.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1578
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 02-19-2012 03:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Further to previous post.

As I recall the Space Mobile was on its way back to the States from a tour of US bases in Germany. The ship carrying it docked at Tilbury so my school was its first visit. Thereafter the unit stopped at Kettering School (of Geoff Perry fame) and visited a few other institutions before returning to the States. As far as I know, this is the only time a Space Mobile visited this country.

Also of interest is that about this time the Coca-Cola company produced a science kit for schools in the US. This came as a flat-pack and contained six sets of experiments that could be constructed and used. The only extra equipment needed was a Coca-Cola bottle. Six of these were sent to the UK, one of which finished up at my school.

Oh! ...the strings one pulled in those days.

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