posted 08-28-2007 06:46 PM
From the Aerospace Legacy Foundation:
Rotational Test Facility found and being returned to Downey Foundation
The original Rotational Test Facility that was used in Downey at the North American-Rockwell facility in the mid-1960's has been found and will be returned shortly to the factory where it was used.
The RTF was not so much a centrifuge but a spinning chamber that was used to evaluate the ways astronauts would adapt to centrifugal forces on long term space missions where artificial gravity would be needed for the human body to survive.
The chamber, which was constructed from a Boeing KC-97 aircraft fuselage, was long thought to be destroyed but was found in a local Los Angeles junkyard!
Though graffitied, its original company markings can still be seen after 40 years.
It is slated to be moved soon, after a special cradle is built for its transport back to Downey studios, where it will be displayed beside the Apollo boilerplate command module first used to test the Apollo escape system in 1963. That spacecraft will be opened for the first time in nearly 40 years later this week.
Photos of the RTF and the chamber will be posted later this week.
J. M. Busby
Aerospace Legacy Foundation (.org)