Dec 192010

An early-1960’s idea for a one-man “space pod.” Similar in concept to von Braun’s “Bottle Suit,” the Remora would allow an astronaut to work in a more comfortable settign than a full pressure suit, while giving the astronaut more tools and greater protection from radiation, meteoroids and other space hazards.

The name “remora” comes in part from the fact that the “suits” would not, unlike normal EVA suits, have to be put all the way through an air lock. Instead, the “head” of the Remora would enter a small port on the spacecraft, would lock in, the pressure would equalize and the transparent dome would open, allowing the astronaut to climb right out. The pressure in the spacecraft/space station would be the same as that within the Remora, meaning no prebreathing and no dangerous and time consuming steps up and down in pressure.

The images below are photos of Bell promo glossies. At the tiem I took ’em, I was far from home and fully prepared to do some scannin’… except I brought the wrong damned cable. Ooops. Anybody want to underwrite a return visit, so I can spend the time (of which I had very little last time) to do it right?

 Posted by at 6:25 pm
  • Michel Van

    in german space literature they got it all wrong
    this was considert as a SOVIET project !

  • Pat Flannery

    Does it have any propulsion system on it? The cutaway shows some things on the lower front side, but if they are thrusters, their location will just cause it to spin if they are fired, as they appear to be below the center of mass.
    Also, is this thing pressurized? You assume it is, as you have to open it up to get into it from inside the spacecraft, but the pilot is in a full pressure suit with his visor closed.

  • Where were you visiting?

    I’ve seen the second photo before. It’s an illustration in the Zero-G Belt report, which mentions Remora as an aside but doesn’t go into detail on it:

    Your version is better than the version I pulled off the microfilm/PDF.

    Pat, I’d expect wearing a pressure suit would be a good idea for redundancy, just as Soyuz and Shuttle crews wear suits on ascent and descent.

  • admin

    The Niagara Aerospace Museum, which since then closed up shop and re-opened somewhere else in the Buffalo area.

  • Found the first picture in Space Research: Directions for the Future, Part 1.

    As early as 1960, Bell Aircraft Corporation proposed the REMORA system, which combines direct and remote manipulation. The REMORA concept (see Figure 8) appears to offer several advantages. First, if necessary, it could be shielded to protect the extravehicular worker in zones of high radiation. Second, a variety of arms may be used, each designed to serve a special type of operation. For example, one pair of arms might be of the gauntlet type for use on jobs requiring delicate manipulation. One arm might hold and provide power for tools such as drills; other arms might simply hold the work, leaving the operator’s gauntleted hands free for productive work. (Industrial engineers tell us that the “hold” operation is probably the greatest source of inefficiency in assembly and maintenance operations.) The possibilities are almost infinite. Third, REMORA is pressurized, requiring the operator to inflate his suit only in emergencies. This feature would greatly reduce fatigue and extend useful time of work.

    So what happens when, God forbid, the thing springs a leak? The operator inflates his pressure suit, then has to get Remora back to its docking port while suffering a crippling case of the bends… or maybe we just gamble that he won’t get the bends. Or maybe the suit runs at a high pressure– but then it’s extremely stiff.

  • As you know, I once spent a glorious weekend in the Niagara Aerospace Museum.

    The rocket belt crowd is talking about doing something in April for the 50th anniversary of Hal Graham’s initial flight. Even if this comes together, I don’t think family finances will allow me to attend this time. Maybe I’ll run out and get my wife a lottery ticket for Xmas.

  • admin

    > The operator inflates his pressure suit, then has to get Remora back to its docking port while suffering a crippling case of the bends…

    Not quite. His suit would be buttoned up and inflated to (let’s say) 12 psi… but the Remora is also at (let’s say) 12 psi. Since the delta-p is zero, the suit is good and slack, easy to work in. But if there is a sudden massive leak, the suit will basically just stiffen up. There will be some ballooning, of course, but if his suit automatic controls are on the job (it should only be a matter of a valve set at, let’s say, 12 psi), the pressure change will be minimal and short in duration, a second or so. Uncomfortable, but unlikely to be deadly. And if the Remora’s leak is slow, taking more than a few seconds to blow down, there should be no particular risk at all. Apart from the risk of a suddenly full diaper…

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