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Apollo Test Capsule

March 10, 2012 by staff 

Apollo Test Capsule, A dummy capsule that NASA used in the lead-up to the Apollo moon landings has been restored to its former glory to inspire a new generation of space explorers at a California learning center.

The red-and-white painted capsule, known as “Boilerplate 19A” (BP-19A), was built in the early 1960s by the same aerospace company and to the same basic design specifications as the space-worthy command modules that flew crews to the moon and back.

But, instead of lifting off, BP-19A was dropped out of the back of a cargo plane to test the recovery systems that would safely land astronauts back on Earth.

More than four decades after its final test flight, and years after being displayed outdoors in a county park, BP-19A was entrusted to SpaceWorks, the exhibition design and artifact preservation division of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kan., for its restoration.

“Compared to other remaining capsules from the Apollo era, this particular artifact was exceptional, due the fact that it still contained original components,” said Richard Hollowell, the Cosmosphere’s interim president and chief executive officer. “SpaceWorks stabilized the original materials, cleaned and preserved the surfaces and prepared the capsule for full-time exhibition.”

The capsule is now set to go on display at the Columbia Memorial Space Center, a hands-on educational facility in Downey, Calif., the site where all the Apollo spacecraft – including BP-19A – were built.

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