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Archival image reveals early astronaut crisis training

Gimbal of doom: NASA’s early training rig.

Gimbal of doom: NASA’s early training rig.


Dating from 1959, this time-delay image shows a piece of custom-built NASA training equipment known as the Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility, or MASTIF.

Used for training astronauts preparing for Project Mercury, the gimballing rig was designed to simulate a tumbling, out-of-control spacecraft. It was housed at the Lewis Research Centre – now the John H. Glenn Research Centre – in Cleveland, US.

Looking perhaps more at home in a funfair than an aeronautical institution, MASTIF was deployed for only a couple of years, before being dismantled in the early 1960s.

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