Encyclopedia Astronautica
1960.03.01 - London Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition Space Vehicle.


The London Daily Mail presented the Space Vehicle at its 1960 Ideal Home Exhibition, and an estimated 150 000 to 200 000 people passed through the vehicle.

The following is extracted from the 1960 exhibition catalog: Based on designs developed by Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc., Santa Monica, CA, the Space Vehicle which rears its 62 feet length from the well high into the roof of the Empire Hall will he seen suspended as it would be in flight so that visitors may see, for the first time in history, a full- sized replica of a Space Ship of the future. It measures 17 feet across and visitors can walk through it from the First Floor of the Empire Hall and inspect it in detail. Those who do so should assume that they are aboard in the second stage of a two-stage vehicle. After take-off the first stage burns out at an altitude of 200,000 feet ; the second at a height of approximately 250 miles above sea level. Once in orbit, in gravity free space, the Space Vehicle is pointed towards the sun and is kept in that position on its course. Its mission is to map stellar space unhindered by atmospheric conditions which prevail below, to make spectroscope observations and to obtain other astronomical data, all of which are telemetered directly to earth stations. The crew of four men make their ascent in the nose cone (in which they also reenter the atmosphere and return to earth). Once in orbit they move down from the cone into the central column, blow out the fuel chamber--which is to be their working and living quarters-and set up their equipment which has been stored in the area between nose and tank. The sheathing, which covers their part of the Vehicle, opens up into four petals which have sun batteries on their inner surfaces. These provide 5 kw of power to drive the electrical equipment. Inside the sheathing, telescopes, radio antennae and other gear all stand during ascent. Working in space suits the team assemble this equipment, transfer stores, and are soon ready to set up their space routine. Each man takes his watch. Actually during the twenty-four hours each member of the crew does approximately eight hours on duty, has eight hours for sleep and eight hours free for exercise, meals and recreation. While on duty, the crew control the transmission of their observations to earth and keep watch on the temperature and atmospheric conditions within the Space Vehicle. The blue and white stripes on the outside of the vehicle are designed to absorb (white) and re-radiate (blue) the sun's heat (which in space is very great) and maintain a temperature of about 72 degrees fahrenheit within the working quarters. The atmospheric conditions within the Vehicle are created from oxygen and nitrogen supplies and pressurised to simulate an environment of 10,000 feet . Air breathed out by the crew (CO2) is absorbed in special containers. Visitors who go through the Vehicle should realise that the crew, in a gravity-free condition, have no "floor" or "ceiling." They would be able to work equally easily in any position. The Vehicle on exhibit at the Exhibition shows one of the crew at work on a telescope, in a space suit, outside the Vehicle. A second crew member will he seen inside the Vehicle, in his space suit, at the ready in case of emergency; a third man is relaxing, watching earth TV; a fourth is on duty at the control console. In a gravity-free condition things remain where they are-only "restraint" straps are necessary to prevent "drifting." When returning to earth, the crew go back to the re-entry Vehicle (the nose cone) in which they made their ascent. Here they fasten themselves into special seats. They then break the joints which attach them to the Space Vehicle and . . . align their vehicle so that its nose points in a direction to that of their orbit. A small rocket motor is then fired which reduces their speed and they begin to sink into the upper atmosphere and come into the earth's gravitational pull. The re-entry vehicle is then flown earthwards, losing speed and finally, at a predetermined height, a large parachute opens automatically and the capsule floats down to the ground.

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