Status Report

Johnsville Centrifuge Gondola Returns Home To New Museum

By SpaceRef Editor
May 15, 2011
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“May 5, 2011 was a historic day for Bucks County as the original gondola of the Johnsville Centrifuge that was used for training America’s early space heroes returned to Warminster. It had spent the last 47 years at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Suitland, Maryland.

All of America’s pioneering astronauts, including Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong trained at the Johnsville Centrifuge prior to their historic space missions.

In 1963 the gondola was replaced by a larger gondola to accommodate the three wide configuration needed to train for the Apollo missions. Shortly after its replacement it was transferred to the Smithsonian by the US Navy and has remained at the Garber facility ever since.

The gondola has recently been “deaccessioned” (taken off the books) by the Smithsonian with ownership transferring to the Johnsville Centrifuge & Science Museum.” More

Astronaut Walter Schirra to enter centrifuge during training for space flight (1/1/1960) Astronaut Walter M. Schirra Jr. prepares to enter gondola of centrifuge which is used to test gravitational stress on astronauts training for space flight. Schirra became the pilot of the Mercury-Atlas 8 six-orbit space mission. Date: 1/1/1960

Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter, prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission, during centrifuge training and U.S. Navy Air Development Center at Johnsville, PA. Date: 9/1/1961

SpaceRef staff editor.