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Author Topic:   Viewing manned Apollo Command Modules
quantumleap
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From: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
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posted 04-14-2005 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumleap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few months ago I visited the Kansas Cosmosphere to see the Apollo 13 Command Module. This completed my quest to see every one of the flown manned Apollo Command Modules.

Question to every one here, has any one else done that?

What are your thoughts on the best and worst displayed ones? For example, I liked the fact that Apollo 12 and 15 were not stuck behind windows or shrouded in perspex and you could get a completely clear 360 degree view. To me Apollo 11 at the National Air and Space Museum is badly displayed because of the perspex! How do you get a decent photograph?

Spacepsycho
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posted 04-15-2005 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you get to San Diego, the San Diego Aerospace museum set up a new display for the Apollo 9 CM in the front of the facility. It's beautifully displayed with plexi protecting it but there's 3 stairs that allow you to look into the CM right by the hatch and get a complete view. The stairs also allow you to look down into the equipment bay and under the seats.

As far as taking photos through the plexi, get your lens right up against the glass, put the camera on manual (if it's an autofocus) so the IR beam doesn't focus for the plexi and make sure your flash isn't bouncing back to where your lens can see it. The biggest mistake I see people making when taking photo through any type of glass, is they stand back which allows the flash reflection to bounce off the surface and their picture shows a BIG white spot where their subject.

randy
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posted 04-15-2005 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The worst displayed Apollo CM I've seen was the Skylab CM displayed at the Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. It's in a plexiglass cube and you can't get close enough to see much, let alone photograph anything. The best display I've seen is the CM at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center.

FFrench
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posted 04-15-2005 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One thing our neighbors over at the Aerospace Museum have done so incredibly well with Apollo 9 is light it internally. It makes such an incredible difference when looking in the hatchway. It is also the best example I have seen of balancing up-close access with correctly protecting the spacecraft. The exhibition around it also does a wonderful job of explaining the flight to the public. It's the best I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot!

nasamad
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posted 04-15-2005 01:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm glad to say that the Science Museum over here in London, has the Apollo 10 CM on display and it's not covered in perspex here either.

Strangely, it is not on display in the space gallery (it used to be), but is on display in the transport gallery. While this makes it look out of place it does allow it to be lit better than if it was in the dark space gallery.

I love the fact that it can be photographed without worrying about reflections from any perspex.

(The best way to take a pic of a CM in perspex is to turn off your flash altogether, and brace your camera against something solid (a lot of museums don't like you using a tripod) and allow the camera to use the existing light. This means a longer exposure or a larger aperture, but most camera's can do that automatically now.)

Rick
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posted 04-15-2005 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by quantumleap:
This completed my quest to see every one of the flown manned Apollo Command Modules.
First of all, congratulations on your feat. I've seen a few of the CMs, but not ALL of them. I've checked... to the best of my recollection... Apollos 10, 11, 12, 13 and 16 off my list.

However, I will say that I did NOT care in the least for the way the Apollo 12 command module was displayed in the Virginia Air & Space Center. When I visited about a year ago to do research on a project I was working on at the time, Yankee Clipper was covered in an extremely thick layer of dust. It was so filthy, I could blow on the side of the craft and the dust literally flew off in sheets.

That's a pretty steep price to pay keep such an invaluable historical object exposed to the environment. I'd rather encase the thing in whatever it is that they're supposed to be encased in, and have a fuzzy photo, or one with a flash in it, and I've got several of those, than have a priceless heirloom deteriorate quicker than it should.

Now... lest anyone from the Virginia Air and Space Center get up in arms, I did contact them to complain and was assured that a scheduled cleaning was to have taken place a couple of days after my visit. Thing is, it shouldn't have gotten in that shape in the first place.

Oh, yeah... and the item on display was referred to in a sign next to Yankee Clipper as a command "model" not "module."

Can you tell I'm still a little ticked about the incident? Man, I'm glad I got that off my chest...

SpaceAholic
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posted 04-16-2005 01:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick:
Now... lest anyone from the Virginia Air and Space Center get up in arms, I did contact them to complain and was assured that a scheduled cleaning was to have taken place a couple of days after my visit.
Rick, I was just at the Virginia Air and Space Center yesterday... the situation really hasn't improved, lots of dust coating the capsule. My previous visit there was about a year ago and the most immediate thing that struck me was the chips of ablative heatshield that had fallen off the bottom onto the floor. I also view the absence of a protective encasement frightening and don't understand why NASM hasn't mandated such protection uniformly on all the CMs as a precondition for their display. Acknowledging that a plexiglass shroud diminishes the experience of interaction with the capsule but long term preservation of a national treasure should take higher precedence (IMO of course!).

Blackarrow
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posted 04-16-2005 09:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd like to see the ASTP command module again. I believe it's on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Centre. I did see it at Kennedy Space Center previously, but it was moving awfully fast and then sort of disappeared into the sky...

quantumleap
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posted 04-18-2005 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumleap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting to see the feedback from everyone on this topic. I had expected that I'd find others who had seen them all, but maybe not!

A few extra comments on the points raised.

Apollo 9 - I saw it when it was at the Michigan Space Center in Jackson, Michigan. I do want to make it out to San Diego sometime to see it in its new location (and of course visit the rest of the Aerospace Museum there). Similarly, I want to see Apollo 7 again now it has moved from Ottawa, Canada to Dallas.

Apollo 10 - I saw that at the London Science Museum last November. It was one of the ones which was not enclosed. Sadly there was a pillar in one place and a computer system in another which prevented a complete 360 degree view. One thing this one displayed which none of the others did was it had an access plate removed from just below the command module hatch on the outside so you could see some of the wiring inside.

Apollo 12 - I do not remember that it was covered in a lot of dust when I was there. They were doing some update of exhibits, and they had crates strewn around the floor next to the module, but that was about it. I did like the fact that the three crew members had their signatures etched on the module itself.

Skylab 3 - Yes the NASA Glenn exhibit did make it difficult to photograph. At least the exhibit rotated so you got to see it all.

As for the complete command and service module at the Kennedy Space Center Apollo/Saturn V Center, yes, I agree that is amazing. Of course it never flew as it was intended as a potential rescue vehicle for the ASTP crew if they had problems. While it doesn't count on my list of flown manned Apollo CMs, it is definitely the best example of what the complete system looked like.

As for the perspex/non-perspex debate, looking back at my pictures of them all, just three of the fifteen had a complete perspex shroud in the shape of the command module (which is what I do not like). Seven had no major covering (just behind barriers to prevent touching), and the remaining five where behind some form of glass enclosure (though not necessarily one which went all the way to the ceiling to make it completely enclosed).

The saddest sight of one of the command modules was that of one of my two visits to see Apollo 15 at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. At that time they were working on building the third exhibit hangar, and so the space collection was either not accessible, or some items had been moved over to the "Experimental/Special Aircraft" collection area over on Wright-Patterson Air Base. One of the items moved was Apollo 15. Unfortunately when I saw it, it was still on a wooden shipping pallette, with hoisting straps all over it, stuck away in the farthest, darkest corner. Of the people who took the bus ride over to Wright-Patterson, I was the only person who went over to really look at it. To overhear one person when asked what it was say "just some old space thing" made me very sad.

Anyway, if people are interested, I do have a website with a few pictures I've taken of all the Command Modules (I have a lot more pictures of most of them as towards the middle and end of my quest, I really started documenting them from as many angles as possible).

MarylandSpace
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posted 04-18-2005 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the best on line resources to locate Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules is A Field Guide to American Spacecraft by James Gerard.

Space capsules are all over the place and coming to a town near you. I like getting my photo taken close to the space capsules.

R.Glueck
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posted 04-18-2005 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I visited every manned Mercury capsule; as well as Gemini 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12; Apollos 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, ASTP. Add to that list numerous unflown or unused Mercurys, at least one Blue Gemini, and Apollo boiler plates.

Also add two Skylab capsules and Lord knows how many professional mockups and LEM trainers, as well as three unflown, but near flight ready LEMs.

STEVE SMITH
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From: WICHITA, KANSAS, USA
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posted 04-18-2005 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for STEVE SMITH   Click Here to Email STEVE SMITH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by R.Glueck:
I visited every manned Mercury capsule; as well as Gemini 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12; Apollos 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, ASTP.
I see you're missing G10 and A13. Come on down to Cosmosphere and we can fix that.

We are the only place you can see a flown Mercury (Liberty Bell 7 when it returns, in summer of 2006), Gemini and Apollo, and flown Vostok.

The new Mollett Early spaceflight Gallery opening in June will have special housing for these.

eilisk
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posted 04-27-2005 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eilisk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've only managed to visit a few CMs, but agree with those who have said they liked the presentation of 10. It's close to my home, and you can really get a decent view.

(Incidentally, the "computer system" quantumleap speaks of next to 10 is an original Cray-1. If you get a chance to look at one do, and marvel at the fact that all those wires were connected by hand!)

If I remember rightly, one of the command modules in the NASM was not encased (c.2001/2) - can anyone shed any light?

machbusterman
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posted 04-27-2005 08:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I remember correctly it is the unmanned Apollo 5 CM which is not encased in acrylic. Its in the Apollo to the Moon gallery (I think?).

thump
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posted 04-27-2005 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by machbusterman:
If I remember correctly it is the unmanned Apollo 5 CM which is not encased in acrylic. Its in the Apollo to the Moon gallery (I think?).

It actually is Skylab IV CM, hanging at the entrance to the Apollo to the Moon Gallery

quantumleap
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posted 05-09-2005 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumleap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Following on from the information in the recent collectSPACE news article about the memorabilia show at NASA Glenn, it seems that if you are a non-US national, your chance of seeing all the flown manned Apollo Command Modules is now zero as GRC restricts access to citizens only.

Hopefully the Smithsonian will see that with Skylab 3 now being off limits to worldwide space enthusiasts, they'll move it somewhere else.

Choose2Go
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posted 06-05-2005 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Choose2Go   Click Here to Email Choose2Go     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MarylandSpace:
One of the best on line resources to locate Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules is A Field Guide to American Spacecraft by James Gerard.
I've seen all vehicles listed except for Gemini 11, Apollo 7, and Apollo 9. I'll get G11 and A9 in August when I visit the west coast. Trying to figure how to make a trip to Dallas. BTW - that also includes all the Orbiters listed!

Most beautiful display: Space Center Houston
Worst for photography: Space Center Houston

Obviousman
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posted 06-06-2005 03:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Obviousman   Click Here to Email Obviousman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've had a bit to do with aviation museums, and one of the most successful items is a simulator / mockup where people can get in and touch, feel, experience the item fully.

We used this as a fund raiser at one, where people could put on a flightsuit and helmet, climb into the cockpit of a real aircraft, and have their photo taken.

To satisfy the kiddies, nose section mockups were constructed. They loved to sit in the seats, fiddle with switches, and play at 'flying' the aircraft.

I think a similar item would do well for a space museum.

A realistic mockup of the CM that you could sit in.

spaceman1953
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posted 06-09-2005 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by quantumleap:
Anyway, if people are interested, I do have a website with a few pictures I've taken of all the Command Modules.
THANKS for sharing! If I had been to your website before, I surely had forgotten about it! Quite impressive, to say the least! Just like visiting astronauts! Or like those people who travel to all the major league sports parks!

Cool! Really cool!

quantumleap
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posted 06-10-2005 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumleap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Obviousman:
A realistic mockup of the CM that you could sit in.

The Kansas Cosmosphere does have an extremely good Apollo Command Module with one of the best mockups of the main panel in their educational centre i.e. it isn't in the museum itself but part of their setup for their space related camps.

In the same centre they also have a Soyuz trainer which they built for NASA's Johnson Space Center and returned to them after NASA completed their own. I can tell you, I'm only 5ft 11in, but sat in the seat there with your knee's tucked almost up in your chest, I truly developed an admiration for all the cosmonauts/astronauts who ride it up and back from the ISS and being in that position for up to a couple of days.

Getting back to an Apollo CM mockup, I remember once seeing a company who was floating the idea of developing a new type of space camp but based on the Apollo rather than Shuttle era. Sadly nothing came of it or I'd have been there!

snf13
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posted 06-16-2005 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for snf13   Click Here to Email snf13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Huntsville has a fun Apollo CM mock-up you can sit in and throw switches. It was a trainer, a bit worn - but I didn't want to get out.

lb206
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posted 07-07-2005 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lb206   Click Here to Email lb206     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick:
Yankee Clipper was covered in an extremely thick layer of dust. It was so filthy, I could blow on the side of the craft and the dust literally flew off in sheets.
As an employee of the Virginia Air and Space Center where Apollo 12 is housed I can say that the capsule as well as all aircraft believe it or not are dusted regularly. I don't know the schedule but then I'm in education not house keeping. It has however surprised me that the capsule has been part of the NASA Langley visitor center for many years including when the center was actually located on NASA Langley and in all those years the capsule has never been under any kind of case. And I first saw the capsule over 20 years ago. Believe it or not the lights inside the CM were at one time many years ago used to illuminate the capsule and someone actually had to get inside to change the bulbs when they burned out. The Smithsonian at least put a stop to that practice. Also the Apollo 12 display will be changed in the next few years exactly how I'm not sure but it is being remodeled along with our space gallery.

SpaceAholic
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posted 04-23-2008 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have a look at this document: Apollo/Skylab ASTP and Shuttle Orbiter Major End Items which provides a rather interesting snapshot of the disposition of residual spacecraft and supporting hardware as of 1978 ...what's revealing is the shear quantity of boilerplates/test articles produced and how many of them were sent to scrap (or to paraphrase the remarks for the TM-9 Lunar Module "Dismantled and components sent three different directions. No longer recognized as an end item".)

AFGAS
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posted 04-24-2008 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AFGAS   Click Here to Email AFGAS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
...what's revealing is the shear quantity of boilerplates/test articles produced and how many of them were sent to scrap (or to paraphrase the remarks for the TM-9 Lunar Module "Dismantled and components sent three different directions. No longer recognized as an end item".)
This article has been invaluable to me in tracking down boilerplates for A Field Guide to American Spacecraft. In some cases the location listed is two or three times removed from where they currently reside. But it is a must read for anybody interested in Apollo, and preparing for similar artifacts from Orion. Boilerplates being created as we speak!

ilbasso
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posted 05-28-2012 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I finally got to see Yankee Clipper this past week. I was surprised by the lack of security and protection. What really floored me was the state of her heat shield. There are large areas where a layer of the ablative material is completely gone. It's interesting, because it gives you a sense of the structure of the vehicle, but it's also disturbing to see that much material missing.

NJSPACEFAN
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posted 05-28-2012 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NJSPACEFAN   Click Here to Email NJSPACEFAN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had seen the same thing last fall when I visited the museum. I had the feeling that since a big part of the museum was kid and touch friendly - that some had reached into there - even cross that barrier that's not guarded, and picked off pieces. It really is a shame.

APG85
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posted 05-28-2012 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have always felt that we could do better with many of our Gemini and Apollo space craft. In my opinion, a lot of them need attention/restoration.

Hatches and EVA handles need to be reunited with their respective capsules/command modules (you wouldn't take the door off of The Spirit of St. Louis and display it in another museum).

I've brought it up in another thread, but the Apollo 15 Command Module interior needs to be restored even if it's with replica panels, etc. Ideally, you would remove the originally panels from Apollo 16, return them to Apollo 15 (where they came from) and make replicas for Apollo 16 (I don't see it happening, but that would be historically correct).

Heat shields that were damaged by tourists (Apollo 12) need to be restored/fixed, etc. or those museums should face losing that artifact to a museum that can better protect the vehicle. Just my opinion...

p51
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posted 05-28-2012 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How many here have seen the CM from Apollo 1?

Fra Mauro
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posted 05-30-2012 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apollo 1 has never been put on public display.

garymilgrom
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posted 05-30-2012 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I saw the Apollo 14 CM at the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Although protected by a plexiglass wall, there is enough space to hold your camera on the other side of the wall and capture the CM directly.

If you have a small tripod that will give you some extra leverage or extension on positioning the camera. I asked a custodian if this was OK before doing it.

Here's a photo showing the plexi wall:

Apollo14_1 sml

And here's the capsule without the wall in the way:

Apollo14_SML

Finally, a shot looking directly into the hatch:

ApolloInnerCU_sml

arjuna
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posted 05-30-2012 08:25 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Huh? Wait - since when is the Apollo 14 CM Kittyhawk not at the KSC Apollo-Saturn V Center? It was there last month, and not behind plexiglas for that matter.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-30-2012 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 14 CM was at the Astronaut Hall of Fame before it was moved to the Apollo Saturn V Center in 2009.

arjuna
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posted 05-30-2012 09:22 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aha. Thanks.

And by the way, that is completely appalling news about the Yankee Clipper. As a taxpayer, I think NASA should investigate and move the vehicle to a more suitable location if VASC can't fix the problem, and pronto.

On a related note, I visited Udvar-Hazy for the first time yesterday. I say this with understatement: it was totally spectacular. The only thing missing is an actual flown CM.

lb206
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posted 06-10-2012 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lb206   Click Here to Email lb206     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In defense of the Virginia Air and Space Center, I worked there for 15 years before moving out of he area. This was beginning a year after the museum was opened.

In my memory over the years the heat shield was always in bad condition like that. Before coming to the space center it had been displayed for many years at the original NASA Langley visitor center also without protective covering. I'm not sure where it was in the interim between the two locations as there was no visitor center for Langley for several years before the VASC opened in 1992.

Granted the CM was not displayed where you could see the heat shield at the old visitor center so I do not know the shape it was in prior to coming to VASC but in my memory it always looked like that since the museum opened.

As to the dust, all exhibits are regularly dusted however it is a very large facility so there may be times when you may not see it perfectly cleaned off as it cant be done every day.

As for the people reaching out to remove chunks, I don't see it happening. The rail around it was sufficiently far enough out, you would need exceedingly long arms to reach the heat shield. I cant say the front was never touched but whenever that was seen it was highly discouraged by staff and volunteers and most people had enough respect not to touch it.

lb206
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posted 06-10-2012 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lb206   Click Here to Email lb206     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are also other examples of heat shields with chunks missing from them as seen below.

Gonzo
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posted 06-11-2012 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is kind of a side topic, but related question. I've seen many of the CM's in the past (including Kansas Cosmosphere - saw my first IMAX film there, many years ago). I also was just at the Udvar-Hazy Center in early May (and I agree with understatement, it was AWESOME!).

However, I can't say if I've seen them all. Could someone post a list of all the CM's and their locations? That may help those of us relying on memory to determine if we've seen them all.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2012 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim Gerard's A Field Guide to American Spacecraft lists the locations of all U.S. spacecraft. Here's his list for Apollo command modules.

Gonzo
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posted 06-11-2012 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Robert! That's a much better list (and more accurate) than the one I just found.

Of the places on the list, for the 11 flown Apollo CM's, I've seen all but three - 9/San Diego, CA; 10/London; 12/Hampton, VA.

Guess I have some traveling to do yet...

mikej
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posted 06-11-2012 07:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gonzo:
Guess I have some traveling to do yet...
I don't know how long you've been in Battle Creek, but up until the end of 2003, Apollo 9 was about an hour down the road from you, at the Michigan Space & Science Center in Jackson. Could have saved yourself a trip to the west coast!

Gonzo
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posted 06-12-2012 05:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Mike. Wish I'd have known it was there. Jackson is only about 45 minutes away. Would have been on that in a heartbeat. We've been here since the fall of '97. Too bad the Michigan Space and Science Center is now CLOSED.

All times are CT (US)

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Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





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