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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: I'd love to have a ball, but...
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 22:43:58 GMT

In article <>,
Joseph Francis Nebus <> wrote:
>	Have any kind souls out there got a reference for the plans
>on how they were supposed to be used?  I know the rough idea (inflate
>the ball, climb inside, wait it out)...

More precisely:  climb inside, seal up, inflate the ball, and be carried
over to the waiting rescue shuttle by one of the guys in spacesuits.  The
balls existed because the shuttle doesn't carry enough spacesuits to go
around (because the suits are big and heavy).

>...but I can't quite picture how
>you'd make something vacuum-safe (or vacuum-safe enough for a short
>duration), particularly in the 'hatch' the astronaut climbs through.

No great problem; just zippers with sealing flaps.  (Remember that
internal air pressure will press such flaps very firmly against the seals,
if the flaps are located on the inside.)  The leakage rate undoubtedly
was significant, but the balls weren't meant for lengthy use.

>(Might difficulties in doing that have helped justify cancelling the
>things, too?)

No, they worked just fine.  They were quietly shelved when it became clear
that there was no chance of shuttle launches being sufficiently frequent
or routine to mount a rescue of a stranded orbiter.

>	Also, was there any relationship (or sharing of technology)
>between those designs and the inflatable airlocks used for Alexei
>Leonov's spacewalk?

None that I know of.
The good old days                   |  Henry Spencer
weren't.                            |      (aka

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