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  Photo of the week 464 (September 14, 2013)

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Author Topic:   Photo of the week 464 (September 14, 2013)
heng44
Member

Posts: 2586
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 09-14-2013 02:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Alan Shepard squeezes through the opening at the top of a Mercury capsule during training as Gordon Cooper's backup on MA-9 in 1963. This was an emergency egress route and judging from his face it was a tight fit.

moorouge
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Posts: 1547
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 09-14-2013 04:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No doubt someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but if memory serves there was a panel that had to be removed to allow access to the opening through which an emergency exit from the capsule could be made. The gap Shepard is trying to get through was just 18 inches wide.

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 1872
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 09-14-2013 04:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great photo of Shepard that I never saw before during the later Mercury era!

Judging from his face, the emergency egress-exit procedure from the top of a Mercury capsule looks to be nearly-impossible to perform.

Suited-up and carrying a survival kit, I just don't know how the Mercury astronauts could successfully perform such an operation.

Recently while I was viewing a flown Mercury spacecraft, I was thinking about this very same thing — emergency exit from the top — and there is just no way I could see it happening.

It just baffles me that all the Mercury pilots had to "pass this test" so-to-speak.
And seeing Shepard's face in doing so for backing up Cooper's MA-9, just confirmed my original thinking of this emergency requirement in their training; No way!

PeterO
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Posts: 207
From: Rochester, NH
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 09-14-2013 05:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
No doubt someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but if memory serves there was a panel that had to be removed to allow access to the opening through which an emergency exit from the capsule could be made.
The right side of the instrument panel had to be detached and moved out of the way, then the forward pressure bulkhead hatch had to be removed. The empty parachute canister was then pushed out the top to clear the way.

Not only was the top end a tight squeeze, the astronaut also had to rotate from feet-first to head-first before starting.

Scott Carpenter exited Aurora 7 this way.

space1
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Posts: 519
From: Danville, Ohio, USA
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 09-14-2013 05:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
...if memory serves there was a panel that had to be removed to allow access to the opening through which an emergency exit from the capsule could be made.
That's right, the right hand section of the main control panel had to be removed and set aside to allow the astronaut to access the forward section of the capsule. The removable section was to the right of the periscope. A lever with a large ring to the right of the periscope would be pulled downward to unlock the panel section. This could simplify egress through the side hatch as well.

------------------
John Fongheiser
Historic Space Systems

dabolton
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Posts: 241
From: Round Lake, IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 09-14-2013 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's amazing you could do this without snagging/ripping the suit. I would imagine being upside down and getting caught by a strap would be quite a claustrophobic situation.

mach3valkyrie
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Posts: 213
From: Albany, Oregon USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 09-14-2013 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No way I could ever fit through that opening, but I couldn't have fit in the Mercury spacecraft either! Nice photo I had not before seen.

Philip
Member

Posts: 4835
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 09-17-2013 04:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A rare photo indeed...

Reminds us of the tight fit in the bloated tube used by Leonov to perform his March 1965 spacewalk out of the Voskhod 2 capsule... He had to deflate his spacesuit in order to get into the tube again.

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