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  • National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum Honors Innovations in Space Exploration

    Published on June 18, 2019

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. : In honor of the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 moon mission, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Museum is unveiling a new display that celebrates NIHF Inductees and the impact their innovations have had on our nation’s space flight and exploration efforts.

    Located in the atrium adjacent to the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum, the Apollo 11 display features the following innovators:

    Beatrice Hicks, Device for Sensing Gas Density (1919-79; Inducted in 2017)

    Apollo 11 and other missions in space exploration would not have been possible without the work of innovators like Beatrice Hicks. She invented a gas density sensor that activated a switch when the gas density reached a critical value — an essential breakthrough in enabling space travel. This sensor was used in the ignition systems of the rockets that launched NASA’s Apollo moon missions.

    Max Faget, Space Capsule Design (1921-2004; Inducted in 2003)

    The Apollo program’s command and service module designs were derived from Max Faget’s design of the first space capsule, Mercury. Faget’s work allowed spacecraft to slow down in Earth’s upper atmosphere, reducing friction and G-force. As NASA’s chief spacecraft designer from Project Mercury through the space shuttle, Faget was instrumental in the establishment and growth of the American space program.

    George Carruthers, Far Ultraviolet Electrographic Camera (Inducted in 2003)

    George Carruthers’ far ultraviolet electrographic camera provided a valuable new perspective by obtaining images of Earth’s upper atmosphere, stars and gases in interstellar space. Carruthers’ invention is best known for its use in the Apollo 16 mission, allowing the Earth to be photographed from a distance in ultraviolet light for the first time. The camera was placed on the moon in April 1972, and it remains there today.

    Frank Cepollina, Satellite Servicing Techniques (Inducted in 2003)

    Exploration beyond the moon has been made possible by visionaries like Frank Cepollina, who developed the concept of modular spacecraft that could be serviced while in orbit. Cepollina’s work has allowed NASA to repair and upgrade Earth-orbiting spacecraft including the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble orbits Earth every 95 minutes at more than 17,000 mph and has delivered an unprecedented number of major discoveries across the universe.