Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Something pretty significant happened this week more than 41 years ago. The Apollo 11 space flight landed the first humans on Earth's Moon on July 20, 1969. The mission, carried out by the United States, is considered a major accomplishment in human exploration and represented a victory by the U.S. in the Cold War Space Race with the Soviet Union.

Launched from Florida on July 16, the third lunar mission of NASA's Apollo Program (and the first G-type mission) was crewed by Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. On July 20 1969, Armstrong and Aldrin landed in the Sea of Tranquility and became the first humans to walk on the Moon. [source: wiki]

This was the Dragon 1:6 scale 12-inch NASA Apollo Astronaut figure "Buck" and it came with a "Tranquility Base" which was supposedly accurately textured and coloured to look like the real lunar surface.

The Portable Life Support System or PLSS was the key component for an Apollo astronaut to perform extravehicular activity freely on the lunar surface, without the hindrance and added risk of a physical tether-line between the EMU suit and the LEM spacecraft. Dragon really did a lot of research and the accuracy is all in the details as the 1:6 scale PLSS is done very much like the real thing.

The A7L LEVA (Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly) featured a wraparound fabric thermal cover with track-mounted side-shade panels for eye protection. The layered visor system consisted of an inner "protective visor" made of ultraviolet-stabilized polycarbonate for filtering UV rays and infrared, and an outer "sun visor" of gold-tinted high temperature polysulfone plastic for filtering visible light and additional UV/IR protection.

The Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly is attached directly to the EMU suit by a pressure-sealing neck ring, providing visual, thermal, and mechanical protection to the Apollo astronaut's head while still allowing him complete range of motion inside.

This figure was called "Buck" (do you guys remember "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" TV series starring Gil Gerard and Erin Gray?). Dragon would release another Apollo Astronaut named "Buzz" (as in "Buzz Aldrin") and he came with a camera.

Hasbro had also released their own 1:6 scale 12-inch NASA Apollo Astronaut figure with Buzz Aldrin's likeness a little earlier but these two astronauts were worlds apart (like Mercury and Neptune since Pluto is no longer considered a planet). I sold the Hasbro G.I. Joe Apollo Astronaut outfit but kept the "Buzz Aldrin" figure :)  

Here's Buzz in his white overall / jumpsuit with clipboard and pencil, all 1:6 scale of course. Obviously Buzz lightyear of Toy Story fame got his name from Buzz Aldrin

Here's Dragon NASA Apollo Astronaut figure "Buck" standing beside vintage Palitoy Action Man Mercury Astronaut (this figure was released way back in the late 60s and Hasbro G.I. Joe had also released the same figure in America). The Astronaut set came with authentic silver space suit with gloves and boots (more like mittens and booties as technology for toys just wasn't that advanced then), space helmet, tether cord, oxygen chest pack, propellent gun and camera. This was one of my first 12-inch figure I got way back in 1995 and the condition is still good :)

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States. It ran from 1959 through 1963 with the goal of putting a human in orbit around the Earth. The name came from Mercury, a Roman mythological god who is often seen as a symbol of speed.

This was Hasbro's re-release of the G.I. Joe Mercury Astronaut with Space Capsule. The Space Capsule was based on the McDonnell Mercury spacecraft which was just large enough for the single crew member. Inside were 120 controls: 55 electrical switches, 30 fuses and 35 mechanical levers.

The Hasbro G.I. Joe 1:6 Mercury Space Capsule was designed to fit the 12-inch Astronaut and has a sliding canopy, control panel and retro pack plus yellow inflatable life raft and oars

Action Man released the Action Man 1/6 scale Lunar Roving Vehicle in 1997

The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) or lunar rover was a type of surface exploration rover used on the Moon during the Apollo program. It is also known by its popular nickname of "moon buggy". Three of the Apollo missions took LRVs to the Moon. The rover was first used on July 31, 1971, during the Apollo 15 mission.

Related posts:
1. Full review of the Dragon NASA Apollo Astronaut
2. Sunday, August 19, 2007 entry: Fly Boys 6 - Astronauts (including Crash Crews)
3. Fly Boys 7: Mercury Space Capsule, Voskhod 2 - Russian Space Craft by Kubrick, Lunar Roving Vehicle - "Moon Buggy" and Manned Manoeuvring Unit - MMU
4. The AWESOME BBI Elite Force 1:6 scale 12-inch USAF U-2 Pilot "Bob Chapman"
5. "One small step for Man, one giant leap for Mankind" - celebrating and commemorating the 40th year of the Moon landing
6. Full review of the Action Man Lunar Rover or Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV)

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