Posts Tagged ‘historical photo of the month’

Slice of History: Free Fall Capsule Drop Test

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

By Julie Cooper

Each month in “Slice of History” we feature a historical photo from the JPL Archives. See more historical photos and explore the JPL Archives at https://beacon.jpl.nasa.gov/.

Free Fall Capsule Drop Test
Free Fall Capsule Drop Test — Photograph Number 354-595

In 1961, a drop capsule was developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., by Section 354, Engineering Research. It was an experimental chamber to study how liquids behave in free-fall (zero gravity). The prototype capsule was dropped from a helicopter hovering at 800 feet, but the capsule was found to be too unstable for these tests. In September 1962, a trial drop was done from the Bailey bridge that connected JPL to the east parking lot. Testing was then moved to a bridge crossing Glen Canyon near Page, Arizona. The dam was under construction at the time and provided a 672-foot-fall with a soft dirt impact area.

The 204 pound shell contained a high-impact sequence camera designed for this experiment, a stopwatch, a liquid sample and a release mechanism. Three external motion picture cameras with different focal lengths looked down on the capsule as it fell. Although the capsule fell for about 10 seconds without rolling, pitching or yawing, there were problems with the internal release mechanism. It appears the experiment was discontinued after two attempts.

This post was written for “Historical Photo of the Month,” a blog by Julie Cooper of JPL’s Library and Archives Group.


Slice of History: Remote Controlled Manipulators

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

By Julie Cooper

Each month in “Slice of History” we feature a historical photo from the JPL Archives. See more historical photos and explore the JPL Archives at https://beacon.jpl.nasa.gov/.

Remote Controlled Manipulators
Remote Controlled Manipulators — Photograph Number 381-4778B

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s 1971 Annual Report featured this photo of a remote controlled system for handling solid propellants. A 1965 Space Programs Summary report indicated that the equipment had been ordered and would be installed in building 197 within a few months. This equipment made it possible to safely mix and load high energy solid propellants into small motors. Building 197 is still known as the Solid Propellant Engineering Laboratory.

This post was written for “Historical Photo of the Month,” a blog by Julie Cooper of JPL’s Library and Archives Group.


Slice of History: IBM 360 Computer System

Monday, August 8th, 2011

By Julie Cooper

Each month in “Slice of History” we feature a historical photo from the JPL Archives. See more historical photos and explore the JPL Archives at https://beacon.jpl.nasa.gov/.

IBM 360 Computer System
IBM 360 Computer System — Photograph Number P-24197A

The IBM 360 Model 75 computer system was used for more than 10 years in the Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was used in tracking, telemetry, command, monitoring and Deep Space Network operations control for NASA’s Mariner, Viking and Voyager missions. There were two identical computers that could run independently or together, and connected to them were three line printers, two typewriters, a punch card reader and 32 cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays. The system’s main memory had a 1 MB capacity and two disks provided 460 MB of additional storage (less than a standard CD). There were also eight attached magnetic tape units, using seven- and nine-track tapes. From left to right, Ron Sharp, Warren Starr, Larry Hughes, Al Balin, and Dr. George Anderson look on as Jackie Jaramillo shuts down the system for the last time in September 1981, when it was replaced with a newer system. Most of the people shown here were part of JPL’s Communications and Computing Network Services Section.

This post was written for “Historical Photo of the Month,” a blog by Julie Cooper of JPL’s Library and Archives Group.