1960 – Project Mercury Converted Capsule – Douglas Aircraft Corp (American)
PROJECT MERCURY CONVERTED CAPSULE
A second concept for a nonantropomorphic-type space suit would essentially be constructed from off-the-shelf items. It would be possible to utilize the Project Mercury Space Capsule and re-entry body as a space suit for assembly, maintenance, or similar-type functions. To do this, the major additions to the system would merely be a translucent plastic observation port on the forward portion of the capsule and an assembly of mechanical arms to be attached in place of the parachute package. These arms could in turn be foldable into their shaft holder. Figure 2 illustrates the design configuration. Modifications of the capsule world also be necessary in that the fuel tanks for propulsion would have to be enlarged to allow maneuvers in space. The interior would have tope slightly rearranged to allow inclusion of controls and panels associated with the mechanical appendages. While there are many disadvantages to this system (e.g., provisions for stabilization of attachments to a second vehicle while accomplishing tasks are presently not considered feasible), the most immediate advantages are the decreased cost of development and the fact that this vehicle may be included in a satellite system for utilisation as an escape vehicle which is readily altered, while spaceborne, into an astro-tug.
The feasibility of a capsule of this nature must be considered in any future analysis of an extra-vehicular space suit.
Source: "Survey of Remote Handling in Space", D. Frederick Baker, USAF, 1962
A cutaway of the Mercury Space Capsule.
See other early Teleoperators here.
See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.