Author Topic: Shepard's parachute  (Read 1466 times)

Offline Space Lizard

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 256
  • Liked: 7
  • Likes Given: 4
Shepard's parachute
« on: 04/11/2011 08:42 AM »
I've just found that on Freedom 7, Shepard had a "personal parachute", which was not used on subsequent missions.

Apparently, this parachute was in conflict with his wrist seal on some movements with the attitude control handle.

Since I can't imagine a Mercury astronaut leaving his capsule before splashdown, all the more if there's a main chute issue. What was this parachute for? It was already difficult to egress with the suit, so I imagine that with a parachute on the belly it would have been worse.

Moreover, if he disconnected his suit from the capsule, he would have interrupted the oxygen flow. So that limits the use to low "breathable" altitudes...

I guess these are among the many reasons why the personal chute was removed on the other missions. But this could have been figured out earlier. Why did Shepard have one?

Moreover, I don't remember having seen it on any picture. Can anyone help?
I watch rockets

Offline JayP

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 788
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Shepard's parachute
« Reply #1 on: 04/12/2011 02:25 PM »
The personal parachute was another of those safety items of dubious utility, but until proven otherwise, it was felt that it  was better to have it than to wish you had it.
Basically, the thought was that if the main and reserve chutes failed, there would still be a couple of minutes of free-fall before impact. Since the side door couldn't be opened from the inside, the astronaut would un-strap, crawl up behind the instrument panel, remove the upper hatch, crawl up thru the forward tunnel, jump away from the capsule and deploy the chute. The chute itself was a standard chest mounted reserve chute like you would see on a military T-10 rig.
After Shepard's flight and the problems he had, they decided that the chute was more of a hazard than it was worth. I remember reading somewhere that someone pointed out that if the chute was inadvertently deployed in the cabin, it would basically fill up all of the space in there and block the astronaut from doing anything.
« Last Edit: 04/13/2011 04:46 PM by JayP »

Offline Jester

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7129
  • SpaceShip Earth
  • Liked: 3609
  • Likes Given: 125
Re: Shepard's parachute
« Reply #2 on: 04/12/2011 02:44 PM »
Astronaut Allen Shepard in pressure suit with body parachute

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/mercury/mercury_redstone_3/html/g60-02665.html
« Last Edit: 04/12/2011 02:47 PM by Jester »

Offline Moe Grills

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 780
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Shepard's parachute
« Reply #3 on: 04/13/2011 03:45 AM »
I've just found that on Freedom 7, Shepard had a "personal parachute", which was not used on subsequent missions.

Apparently, this parachute was in conflict with his wrist seal on some movements with the attitude control handle.

Since I can't imagine a Mercury astronaut leaving his capsule before splashdown, all the more if there's a main chute issue. What was this parachute for? It was already difficult to egress with the suit, so I imagine that with a parachute on the belly it would have been worse.

Moreover, if he disconnected his suit from the capsule, he would have interrupted the oxygen flow. So that limits the use to low "breathable" altitudes...

I guess these are among the many reasons why the personal chute was removed on the other missions. But this could have been figured out earlier. Why did Shepard have one?

Moreover, I don't remember having seen it on any picture. Can anyone help?


Are you thinking that one day it may end up for sale on EBay?

Be careful what they post for sale on that site; you might buy some space memorabilia that hasn't gone anywhere near outer space.


 

Tags: