Science: NASA's Rescue Ball

The smiling astronaut is holding aloft not some extraterrestrial beach ball but NASA's new passenger "rescue ball." Now under construction for the space shuttle, which is scheduled to make its first orbital flight in 1979, the ball would be available for transferring passengers to rescue craft in case the shuttle is marooned in space. Because they will not be equipped with the expensive space suits that are now being considered for the shuttle, passengers could zip themselves into the cheaper, airtight ball. As they crouch in fetal position, the ball, made of layers of synthetic fabrics, will be inflated with pure...

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