CTSD Manned Vacuum Chamber
Spacesuit Displays and Astronaut Photo Gallery
The Crew and Thermal Systems Division displays various spacesuits around the lobby of Building 7A at the Johnson Space Center. This display cabinet holds a Mercury project spacesuit on the left, a Gemini project EVA spacesuit with chestpack life support system used only on the Gemini IV mission with Grissom and White on the right, and a quick-don IV (for use intra-vehicular) spacesuit for Apollo cabin pressure or life support system failures.
In 1966, Prince Philip of Great Britain toured JSC (then called MSC), and volunteers were recruited to wear spacesuits for him to see. I was a good fit for the Mercury suit and volunteered to wear it. The suit was pressurized and ventilated from an air pressure system which created a lot of noise from the rushing air. When pressurized, the Mercury suit was almost in a seated position because that was a better fit inside the cramped Mercury space craft. Prince Philip was curious about how it felt and asked me about it. However, I couldn't hear him because of the rush of the air and he couldn't hear me because we didn't have a comm system hooked up. I assume someone provided him an answer that satisfied him. Actually, the Mercury spacesuit was provided as a back-up to the spacecraft pressure and probably wasn't pressurized during flight. But if the Mercury capsule had lost pressure, the spacesuit would have maintained the crewman's pressure, ventilation, etc. through re-entry. Prince Philip Visits MSC
The Apollo 11 Lunar Landing is commemorated in the Apollo EVA spacesuit display in the lobby of the Johnson Space Center Building 7A that houses the offices of the Crew and Thermal Systems Division. Do you see my reflection in the display case? Like the stars in the lunar sky, the lighting that caused my reflection in the case was too dim as compared to the well lit display. However, I could see the reflection as I took this photo. Just barely see it in this laptop display.
Shuttle EVA spacesuit (EMU) and the flight suit for use inside the Shuttle cabin during launch and re-entry. I worked with vacuum test of suit from 1980 to 1998: unmanned certification tests, manrating tests with volunteer subjects, and many astronaut EMU familiarization and training runs at vacuum.
Here I am with the Gemini EVA spacesuit like the one I was a volunteer test subject for a vacuum chamber test to evaluate visor fogging. The Only Time I was a Spacesuit Test Subject. The white chest pack suit pressure/flow control unit was rushed through design, development, and test to make an EVA possible for Gemini IV. It wasn't available for the run I was in so a facility system provided life support. The handheld maneuvering unit wasn't very effective from what I remember.
Chest Pack Page at the Smithsonian
Closeup view of the chest pack and the left glove connection at the wrist ring. This is what I remember about the operation of the unit: Oxygen from the gold colored umbilical at some controlled pressure, whether in the pack or the spacecraft I don't know, was supplied to the suit inlet connector when the Primary O2 valve was switched to ON. The oxygen flowed through the suit ventilation tubes to the suit outlet connector where it came back to a back-pressure relief valve in the pack and then out into space. The Emergency O2 valve allowed flow directly from the umbilical through the pack and into the special fitting at the drink port in the helmet. Maybe from there it went through the back pressure valve and/or a suit pressure relief valve, if there was one other than the one in the pack.
The top center photo shows a Skylab EVA. The astronaut on the right of the EVA photo is story Musgrave. The caption says he did an EVA on STS-4 and 3 EVAs on STS-61. He is another one of the amazing guys. Bruce McCandless is on the viewers right of the Skylab EVA photo. He did the first free flight from the Shuttle using the MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit). He was also on the Hubble Space Telescope launching mission assigned to do an EVA with Kathy Sullivan if there had been a problem getting the HST out of the cargo bay. To the left of Bruce is George Nelson who was a test crewmember for a vacuum test of the Shuttle EMU that flew on the first Shuttle flight crewed by John Young and Bob Crippen. You can read my comments on that test here: Post STS-1 EMU Vacuum Verification Test. The test was not a success.
Some of the other astronaut photos - In the center is Ken Mattingly who missed a trip on Apollo 13 because he had been exposed to someone with the measles, and he had never had measles before. In the photo below his portrait, he is shown doing an EVA in trans-lunar space. The guy on Ken's right is John Young, one of the most amazing of a bunch of amazing astronauts.
- Posted 12/18/19 - - - - Vacuum Chamber Views - - - - Skipper Family Magazine Index Page