The Wearable Reentry Spacecraft of Yesteryear

The MOOSE concept. GE.

The MOOSE concept. GE.

Imagine an wanderer on house a failing booster in orbit. The car is losing appetite and there’s no way it will be means to make it safely back by the atmosphere. There’s no depletion complement in place and no other booster prepared to send up on a rescue mission. Without a way to get home, but some life vessel of sorts, that wanderer is going to die in space…

This was the calamity unfolding General Electric had in mind when it grown a space lifejacket of sorts — fundamentally the space homogeneous of putting on a life coupler and jumping off a blazing ship into the ocean. The solution was a one-man shun pod of sorts called a Man Out of Space Easiest, after renamed Manned Orbital Operations Safety Equipment, and it was little some-more than a wearable reentry vehicle.

The MOOSE section was trustworthy to the back of a limit insurance vigour fit not distinct the kind worn during space walks. The section contained oxygen tanks, a easy sighting system, a tiny rocket pack, as good as some simple presence supplies. The back of it — which was also at the astronaut’s back — had a quarter-inch thick feverishness defense done of GE’s Elastomeric Shield Material done like a shallow. Filled with firm foam, it became a lifeboat. Here’s how GE illusory it saving a man from failing in space.

First, the wanderer in hazard would enclose his vigour fit then secure himself with straps into the 6-foot mylar bag containing the MOOSE. Zipped up in his space bag, the wanderer would use whatever means probable to put some stretch between himself and the crippled spacecraft.

Once safely away, it was time to spin the bag it into a reentry pod. Attached to the MOOSE were two containers filled with space-filling froth of opposite densities. At this indicate that he would eruption out the foam, permitting it to harden and form a arrange of contour cot around him. The denser froth would be behind him, adding structure to the feverishness defense and the apportionment that would actually land on the ground. Medium firmness froth would form the afterbody, the apportionment above his frontside. The slightest unenlightened froth would pot him in, formulating agreeable pockets in this foamy space womb to strengthen him from the high g-forces compared with reentry.

So ensconced, he would use the Earth setting sighting section and the onboard deorbit rocket, sparingly for the moment, to reorient himself for reentry. Because the car was so tiny it didn’t need a lot of appetite to start windy reentry, which gave him the oppulance of watchful until he was at the right indicate on the creation to make a landing. Though the MOOSE could keep him just as protected alighting in a dried as it could with an sea splashdown, he would likely try to land as close to home as probable for the consequence of an easier recovery.

Finally at the right point, a tiny pull from the retro rockets could get him out of circuit and on his reentry trajectory. He’d sale the rockets, then just before reentry, he would fire a high-intensity light and activate a guide so liberation crews would be means to lane his path.

A after schematic of the stages to MOOSE as a means to survival. GE.

A after schematic of the stages to MOOSE as a means to survival. GE.

At that indicate there was little some-more to do. The figure of the MOOSE was identical to the blunt figure of the Mercury booster definition it was amply fast to right itself into the correct course during reentry. That meant the wanderer inside could lay back and relax meaningful the ablating feverishness defense would keep him safe.

After limit entrance heating, he’d redeem a second light and radar deride as a serve assist for liberation crews. At about 30,000 feet the parachute would deploy, negligence his alighting speed to a peaceful 30 feet per second. The force of the trench deploying would also chase some of the froth from around his hands and arms, giving him some mobility inside the little pod.

Once on the belligerent or on then ocean, slicing cords inside the MOOSE would redeem his top physique adequate that he could redeem the presence pack embedded in the foam. Then it was just a matter of watchful for liberation crews to take him home.

GE spent eight years building the MOOSE judgment before presenting its research. The company tested the foldable feverishness defense at full scale, flew samples of the element on early Mercury missions as good as ballistic investigate flights, and even tested the froth to infer it could successfully “foam in” a man. As for the untested elements — the sighting complement and the reentry rockets — GE was certain those components could be done with existent technology.  All told, the MOOSE weighed between 200 and 470 pounds. It was so light that even with a 180-pound man on board, which was the heaviest NASA was usurpation into the wanderer corps at the time, it would have a some-more light and therefore reduction unpleasant reentry profile. Nothing about the MOOSE was too unconventional to work.

GE illusory an wanderer using this satellite life coupler complement only in the many apocalyptic emergencies, but it seems conjunction NASA nor the US Air Force saw the same need. The complement was mentioned in one 1969 report examining opposite booster configurations, but as we know the MOOSE was never used to save a stranded astronaut.

Sources: Manned Orbital Operations Safety Equipment by General Electric; Analysis and Design of Space Vehicle Flight Control Systems vol. XVI – Abort by Arthur L. Greensite.

  • This seems a little crazy, but if you were marooned, you would be peaceful to try anything.

  • As new record and materials are accessible there is really a future for this saved ejection seat!

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