(Top left photo) The Gondola as it appears today
(Top right photo) Alan Shepard using this NASA gondola
(Bottom left photo) John Glenn using this NASA gondola
David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc. is honored to announce his selection to appraise the original NASA Centrifuge Gondola used by the pioneer astronauts
July 13, 2011
David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc. is proud to announce his firm's selection to appraise the NASA Centrifuge Gondola used by America's first 31 pioneer astronauts, including Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and Neil Armstrong.
"During the pioneer American space program, it was important to expose the astronauts and X-15 pilots to the high gravitational forces that they would experience during both acceleration and re-entry, Frohman said. "This was critical training without which manned spaceflight could never have occurred."
"Toward that end, NASA created this centrifuge as a unique high g-force device within which the astronauts could sample first-hand the extreme gravitational forces that they would later experience during flight. In addition to the gondola itself, NASA also created special foam-fitted couches that were literally molded to each astronaut's body. Two examples of those couches, in-turn, accompany this gondola assembly for appraisal."
Frohman stressed that "this original NASA centrifuge gondola assembly represents one of the great unflown historical artifacts of the American space program. High g-forces were routinely experienced during the pioneer space program missions. As such, it was critically important that the astronauts and X-15 test-pilots receive an opportunity prior to flight to personally and safely experience those remarkable forces within the confines of this very centrifuge gondola. This training also allowed the supervising medical personal to confirm that each astronaut undergoing high g-force training could, in-fact, safely undergo the same g-forces that they would actually later experience during flight."
"During the course of my career over the decades, I have literally cataloged and appraised more flown space artifacts then possibly any other private individual in history," Frohman said. "I have now perhaps come full circle in being selected to appraise the original NASA Centrifuge Gondola used in the pioneer astronaut selection process. Had the astronauts not successfully endured the rigors of this device, then their space artifacts would have never existed for me to later appraise!"
"For example, consider the career of Alan Shepard", Frohman said. "I have now appraised both the NASA Centrifuge that was a part of his original selection process that led to him becoming the first American in space in 1961, and the very golf club used by him on the Moon ten years later in 1971."