The American Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, Dr.Hugh L.Dryden, described in?
The American Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, Dr.Hugh L.Dryden, described in an interview with Visnews the model of a U.S. space capsule designed to put a man into orbit, then bring him back to earth.
"The man is protected from space acceleration by lying on a couch which is more or less moulded to his body shape. When launched from an Atlas Missile, the acceleration, will of course, be upwards and the man will be pressed down against the seat. When the acceleration reaches the orbital condition, the altitude will be changed so it is proceeding through the air with the blunt end first.
"When the capsule slows up, the final recovery is effected by parachutes in the upper part of the capsule which we hope will bring him down safely to land on the ground. This programme is one which builds up over a period of time and it will probably be a couple of years before we are ready to even attempt orbital flight".
The first vehicle - already designed - is to be built by the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation of St.Louis, and ready in some two years' time. The total cost of the project is estimated at over 15M dollars (about GBP5,350,000).
An Atlas - the latest one was fired last November successfully over its full range of over 6000 miles - will be used to put the capsule into orbit some 100-150 miles from the earth.
It would remain in orbit for some 24 hours before dropping back into the atmosphere and returning to earth by parachutes.
A Russian nuclear scientist, Professor V. Dobronravov, in a radio talk on Lunik, the space rocket now orbiting the sun, said last week that a man could have been accommodated in it "if we had wanted to."
More news of plans by the Soviet Union to put a man into space also came late last week: a Soviet scientist in South Africa said his country was training a 30 year old bachelor for space flight. Although this was promptly denied by Moscow next day, Western observers took due note of the Professor's story.
And from the American aero-medical research laboratory, Wright Field, Ohio, came more news January 13 of an American 38 year-old bachelor girl "with no vital earthly concerns" who had stayed in a simulated space chamber for seven days twice as long as any (American) man.