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  KSC Visitor Complex: 'Ad Astra Per Aspera'

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Author Topic:   KSC Visitor Complex: 'Ad Astra Per Aspera'
Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-25-2017 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA displays Apollo 1 command module hatches 50 years after fatal fire

Fifty years ago, after NASA completed its investigation into a fire that claimed the lives of three of its astronauts on the launch pad, the space agency stored the scorched remains of its first crewed Apollo spacecraft out of view at its research center in Virginia.

Now, half a century after the tragedy, NASA has placed on display the three hatches from the flame-damaged Apollo 1 command module, marking the first time any artifact from the capsule has been on public view. The exhibit, located at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's Apollo/Saturn V Center in Florida, is dedicated to the memories of Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White II and Roger Chaffee, who died behind those same hatches on Jan. 27, 1967.

"We have gone too far without a memorial for Gus, Ed and Roger here," said Robert Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center and a former astronaut. "In cooperation with the families of the Apollo 1 crew, we're opening a tribute at the Saturn V facility to honor them, 'Ad Astra Per Aspera: A Rough Road Leads to the Stars.'"

See this photo gallery for more images of the "Ad Astra Per Aspera" exhibit.

GoesTo11
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posted 01-25-2017 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome news... and long overdue.

MarylandSpace
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posted 01-25-2017 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Going to be a very somber moment when we view the exhibit and reflect.

Ronpur
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posted 01-25-2017 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the Challenger and Columbia displays, I hoped this would happen. Glad to see them honored.

space1
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posted 01-25-2017 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So glad that the crew of Apollo 1 will be remembered with a long overdue display of such a significant artifact.

GACspaceguy
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posted 01-25-2017 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is such a wonderful tribute to the crew and families that gave so much, they gave it all.

328KF
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posted 01-25-2017 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this a permanent exhibit or is it just for a limited period of time?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-25-2017 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like "Forever Remembered" in Space Shuttle Atlantis, "Ad Astra Per Aspera" is a permanent installment.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 01-25-2017 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe it's my memory, but I seem to recall that the hatch — or one part of it, or some other major Apollo 1 component — had been in private hands. I recall that it had been for sale but of course was so long ago I don't remember the exact details.

Am I mistaken?

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 01-26-2017 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a photo of the hatches taken soon after the fire.

bwhite1976
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posted 01-26-2017 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Impressive that they are displaying all three hatch layers.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 01-26-2017 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To my knowledge, there are a small quantity of post fire pieces from the Apollo 1 spacecraft in private ownership. Anecdotally somewhere in the region of 50 were produced by North American Rockwell and were made with materials retrieved from a dozen or so boxes sent to Downey for analysis. Most are small commemorative displays given to senior executives but I have heard of one or two pieces that were made in to jewellery!!
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Am I mistaken?
Somehow, I doubt such a significant piece as the hatch would have found its way in to private ownership but if I am wrong I would be interested to know about it.

Kevmac
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posted 01-26-2017 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevmac   Click Here to Email Kevmac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have a diagram or picture of this three-part hatch configuration, or can describe the three layers? I think the outer hatch was the BPC layer and the inner hatch was inward opening. But is there anything that depicts or details the relationship of the layers?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-27-2017 06:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As you can see in the photos of the exhibit, the three hatches were:
  • the outer Blast Protective Cover (BPC) hatch
  • the ablative (heat shield) hatch
  • the inner main spacecraft hatch

Ronpur
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posted 01-27-2017 06:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fantastic, now I know why they moved the access arm from the Rocket Garden.

Kite
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posted 01-27-2017 07:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A fitting tribute to three valiant men.

space1
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posted 01-27-2017 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not having seen the new exhibit I don't know if this is explained. But the new hatch design combined the inner and middle hatches. There was still the Boost Protective Cover (BPC) outer hatch.

On the new hatch the BPC hatch was unlocked by a powerful spring-loaded plunger as the first step in the hatch opening sequence. (The plunger is just above the gearbox on the new hatch.) After the combined hatch was unlocked the hatch counterbalance then forced open the combined hatch as well as the BPC hatch.

GACspaceguy
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posted 01-27-2017 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wonderfully done display, very much in line with the others.

SpaceAngel
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posted 01-27-2017 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this display inspired by the "Forever Remembered" at the Atlantis exhibit?

astro-nut
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posted 01-27-2017 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe that Gus, Ed and Roger would be honored and proud to know that this tribute is now a permanent part of the KSC Visitor Complex.

Long Overdue! Never Forget!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-27-2017 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by space1:
There was still the Boost Protective Cover (BPC) outer hatch.
I don't believe that is explicitly stated (I didn't have a chance to read all of the on-glass descriptions) but the exhibit is much more visual-oriented than it is explanatory. The emphasis is less on it being three parts than it is the time it would take to open.
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAngel:
Is this display inspired by the "Forever Remembered" at the Atlantis exhibit?
Yes and no. According to Luis Berrios, the NASA senior design specialist who co-led the development of "Ad Astra Per Aspera," discussion about displaying Apollo 1 picked up after they opened "Forever Remembered," but that it can also be traced back to the fifth anniversary of the STS-107 tragedy in 2008, when the space shuttle program leadership first used artifacts from Columbia to motivate NASA employees to be diligent in their work.

APG85
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posted 01-27-2017 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A very nice and dignified display. Glad these three men are memorialized appropriately.

KSCartist
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posted 01-29-2017 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was fortunate to have been invited to the opening by Ed White III in appreciation for the work on the commemorative patches.

I can assure anyone who might be wary of this exhibit it is as perfect as you could hope for. All of the family members I spoke with were pleased with it.

I honestly think the technology used (the OLED) glass displays will become the new standard for future museum exhibits.

Fra Mauro
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posted 02-06-2017 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A wonderful memorial to the crew, it must be very moving. From the photos, it looks like you can't see the inside of the inner hatch.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-06-2017 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct; only the outward facing sides of the hatches are visible.

Ronpur
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posted 02-24-2017 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got to see this tribute on Tuesday. I had thought that I would be sad, but I was actually filled with joy when I got to know these three heroes and see some of their personal artifacts. And also knowing that they will be remembered now by thousands of visitors.

I really enjoy the use of this glass to help to tell the story. Except when I missed a photo and had to wait for it to recycle.

The exit through the Apollo 1 patch was really amazing as you walk out onto the crew access arm. Looking to the right side, you feel like you are really there. Don't miss this.

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