Hit the book: Buck Rogers flies so that NASA astronauts can walk in space

You have all seen the iconic picture of an American astronaut sitting elegantly on his NASA-made MODOK chair. That astronaut is Bruce McCandless II, Houston’s capsule communicator on the moon mission, Challenger The crew, and the driving force behind the U.S. ability to operate outside the sweltering confines of the space shuttle and international station. Without McCandless, there is no guarantee that the United States will have EVA capabilities today. Wonders are everywhereThoroughly researched and written by Bruce III, McCandless’s son, discusses McCandless’s ordeals during NASA’s growth period, and his laser focus on making astronauts immune to the quality of the spacecraft. Shuttle in space.

Luye Book Group

Copyright @ 20201 Bruce McCandless III. Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press. Published by Greenleaf Book Group. Designed and created by Greenleaf Book Group and Kimberly Lance. The cover was designed by Greenleaf Book Group, Shaun Venish and Kimberly Lance.Cover image provided by NASA and taken by Robert L. “Hoot” Gibson


During the long years of waiting for space flight, my father found a way of salvation on the back of an elderly cartoon character. Starting in the afternoon of December 1966, he tried the manned maneuver in the Martin Marietta simulator for the first time. Operation outside the spacecraft. This vision has a clear pop culture precedent. In the 1920s, a comic strip character named Buck Rogers-a chin rock veteran of the First World War-encountered the influence of a mysterious gas when he was a mine inspector. yield. After five centuries of deep sleep, he fell into a deep sleep, and when he woke up, he found a strange new world full of spaceships, ray guns and Asian overlords. Although he initially traveled this new world with an anti-gravity belt, a device that allowed him and his best girl Wilma to leap a long distance at a time, Buck eventually got a slim, obviously all-round Jetpack.He finally ventured into space in an adventure called Tiger Man from Mars, His achievements in the universe forever changed America’s view of the future. Millions of people follow Buck’s adventures in comics, radio and film series. Buck’s imitators and spiritual heirs include Flash Gordon, Brick Bradford, John Carter of Mars, and Han Solo.

Many talented men and women spent a lot of time and money to free the jetpack from the interesting documents and send it to the space shuttle. However, no one worked harder than Bruce McCandless and his chief collaborator, an engineer and Air Force officer educated at Auburn University, Charles Edward Jr. (“Ed”) Whitsett. Whitsett was a pale man with glasses, polite but tenacious. He is one step ahead of my father. As early as 1962, he had been thinking about and writing about jetpack technology. In a sense, he is trying to solve a problem that does not yet exist: that is, how does an astronaut get out of his spacecraft and perform constructive tasks in space? An oxygen-free environment, with extreme temperature fluctuations, in an orbital “free fall”, would this make the astronauts lazy in the actual equivalent of zero gravity? The Soviet Union’s Alexei Leonov and the American Ed White have proved that extravehicular activities are possible. People can survive outside the space capsule, but basically all they do is float. How does one move from one part of a spacecraft to another, or from one spacecraft to another, or from one spacecraft to a satellite, for inspection or maintenance? In the early 1960s, none of these demands really existed. At that time, the two countries’ plans were only trying to launch tin cans into low-Earth orbit, and more or less predict where they would return. But it is clear that the needs will eventually arise, and various methods have been proposed to solve them.

In the mid-1960s, the Air Force assigned Whitset to NASA to oversee the development of the Air Force astronaut maneuver unit. In 1966, Gene Cernan’s failed test flight of AMU on Gemini 9—Cernan called it a “hell space walk”—reversed the jetpack project, but it never disappeared. McCandless, Whitset, and a NASA engineer named Dave Schultz worked silently, but tried to keep their dreams. Throughout the second half of the decade and the 1970s, they expanded and improved AMU. In a wired story that portrayed him as an obsolete “forgotten astronaut” in 1973, my father mentioned that he still wanted to stay in manned space despite not winning Apollo or Skylab crew missions. The reason in the plan. “McCandless,” the article said, “helped to develop the M509 experimental mobile device. Skylab’s astronauts tied it up like a backpack, and then pushed their Buck Rogers—just like inside Skylab. [He] Want to build a larger operating unit to perform space chores outside the space shuttle. “And that’s exactly what he did.

Although the Skylab M509 tests in 1973 and 1974 achieved great success, leading to the jetpack concept defeating rocket boots and handheld mobile devices, Whitset and McCandless were not satisfied with the status quo. Over the next few years, the team used whatever time and money they could gather to upgrade what is now called a “manned maneuver unit” or MMU multiple times—11 times in one count. ASMU’s spherical nitrogen fuel tank was replaced by two streamlined aluminum fuel tanks at the rear of the device, each of which was wrapped in Kevlar. The number of propulsion nozzles has been increased from fourteen to twenty-four, and they are located around the jetpack to achieve precise maneuvers with six degrees of freedom. A smaller gyroscope replaced the gyroscope used on ASMU, and, as the space historian Andrew Chaikin pointed out, ASMU’s “pistol-style handheld controller was very tiring to operate in the gloves of a pressurized spacesuit. It is replaced by a shaped handle and only requires a fingertip to push.” MMU’s new arm unit can be adjusted to suit astronauts of various sizes. The device is painted white for maximum reflectivity, and it can withstand the 500-degree temperature fluctuations that astronauts may encounter in space (from a high temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit to a low temperature of minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit!).

By 1980, this machine weighed 326 pounds. Like the previous AMU and ASMU, the MMU is designed to fit or “fit” on the astronaut’s pressure suit. The space shuttle astronauts wear a newly designed suit called Extravehicular Mobility Unit or EMU, which is a two-piece textile engineering marvel, composed of fourteen layers of nylon tear-proof material, Gore-Tex, Kevlar, Mylar And other substances. The electronic equipment of the jetpack is powered by two 16.8 volt silver-zinc batteries. Two motion control handles-panning hand controller and rotating hand controller-are respectively installed on the left and right armrests of the device, and a button activates the “attitude holding mode”, which uses a motion-sensing gyroscope to guide shooting for maintenance Propeller for astronaut’s position in space.

This machine has been tested in every way the designer can imagine. A representative of a local gun club visited Martin Marietta and shot the MMU’s nitrogen fuel tank with 0.50 caliber bullets to determine if the tank would explode if it was punctured. (It doesn’t.) The jetpack has been simulated for hundreds of hours. At the urging of my father, a talented and passionate Martin Marietta project manager named Bill Bollendonk placed the equipment under space-like conditions in the company’s thermal vacuum facility. MMU is no longer a “remote” experiment, as Mike Collins once said. It is now a promising space tool. Unfortunately, for now, it is still an unused space tool. American astronauts stay on Earth as NASA strives to produce its next-generation orbital main space shuttle.

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