SMEAT                                                                  Page 7
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NASA Report No. TMX-58115
AN UNEXPECTED INCIDENT TWENTY YEARS LATER
Around 1992 Ann and I were touring Arizona and we hiked up to the top of a box canyon. We were the only ones hiking there that day and had walked around the top to the other side when we heard someone walking very fast on the opposite side of the canyon. It seemed to be an old fellow wearing a baseball cap. We walked on down the side of the canyon toward park headquarters, but before we got there the old fellow had caught up with us. It was Dr. Thornton! I hadn’t talked to him in twenty years although I had seen him from my office window from time to time as he walked to other buildings on site. We said a few words of greeting and reminisced about the SMEAT test then went our separate ways. He said he was just taking the trip to get away for the weekend; he had flown out and rented a car and was touring all the area sights as quickly as he could.
A life-size model of one quarter of the chamber was built of wood outdoors and the water pipes valves and spray nozzles duplicated. Then volunteers lay on bunks as if asleep and the water was turned on. We wanted to demonstrate that: 1) they wouldn’t drown and 2) they could don oxygen masks and make their way to the exit. Someone marked the wall with an 'outhouse' crescent with silicon water-proof calking.
One section of wall consisted of transparent plastic to provide a view inside the chamber. The team gathered around to check that everything was in order and everone was in place.
Test team and on-lookers.
The forceful water spray from floor, ceiling, and walls was shocking, but did not make it difficult to exit with or without the masks. Our Branch Chief was one of the volunteers and he was exiting the mock-up in this photo.
This is the cover of the report. I don't know whether it is still in print or not. There is a lot of boring information in it with occasional bits of very interesting information and some nice 'low-res' photos.
Everyone involved in the Skylab Project received one of these.
Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
Go to the Space Center Roundup October 20, 2000, issue for a nice article with photos about the Skylab mission. Requires Adobe Reader.