Boatanchors In Spaaaaaace....

David Stinson arc5 at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon May 3 11:25:51 EDT 1999

I've spent a small amount of time over the last couple of years
researching the communications in early US space vehicles.
I got my first semi-close look at a Project Mercury spacecraft
this weekend (Faith 7).  The only piece of the several comm.
systems I could see was a small section of (I think) the backup
UHF communications system, which ran .5 watt.  It looked very much
like period Aircraft Radio Corp. ARC-type-12 equipment, with what
appeared to be a UHF connector and gray, wrinkle paint finish.

Transistors were still a fairly "new" technology in 1961.
NASA was very concerned with using safe, reliable systems.
I believe that, if I ever get access to detailed technical
material, I will find that many of these systems were
based on solder-in tubes.

Therein lies the rub;
The folks at the Smithsonian have been most kind and helpful
to send me a broad overview of the systems involved,
but I can't seem to get them to understand
the concept of a "schematic" or "technical manual."
I've talked to them since they sent me the "block diagram" type
material and they are no closer to understanding what I need.
I can't afford to fly up there and draw them a picture.

Can anyone suggest another approach to obtaining this data?

TNX ES 73 DE Dave Stinson AB5S
arc5 at

p.s. An interesting bit of data from the Mercury fights:
The spacecraft was equipped with both UHF and HF voice systems.
The UHF voice systems were useful for communications
104% of the time the spacecraft was in line-of-sight
of its tracking stations.  The 5-watt HF system?  113%!  HA!

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