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Space History Photo: View From Inside the Hot Laboratory

space history, NASA, radiation research
The hot laboratory viewed from inside as engineer Dave Gardner uses the manipulator arms in 1961. (Image credit: NASA.)

In this 1961 historical photo from the U.S. space agency, we see the view from inside a hot laboratory looking out. The manipulator arm is in the foreground; the engineer behind the glass, Dan Gardner, is operating it. A fifty-two inch oil-filled glass window protected the operator from the radiation. The oil eliminated all of the window's distortion when looking through it.

There were seven interconnected hot cells at Plum Brook; each with its own function. Cell 1 was over twice as large as the others. It was used for dismantling experiments when they entered the hot laboratory. Cell 2 had an engine lathe to machine materials. Cell 3 was a tensile testing facility with two sets of manipulator arms. Cell 4 was a preparatory area for Cell 5, where a variety of metallographic testing equipment was housed. Cell 6 was used for chemical analysis. Cell 7 had x-ray diffraction and analysis DE:machinery. Each cell had filtered air, water, special vents, an intercom, and floor drains for liquid waste effluent.

For more information browse the Plum Brook Facility Page.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: nasa.gov.