Costing $5.4B at the time of construction, the 1963 Gemini Capsule was the first manned American spacraft with an onboard computer, ejection seats, in-flight radar, and an artificial horizon, enabling it to alter its own orbit and dock with other spacecraft. Currently housed in Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, Chicago Flyhouse was called in to move the craft to a new, lower display base that would allow views of its groundbreaking instrument console.
Weighing approximately 4,500 lbs and standing 8 feet, 6 inches tall, the Capsule is both cumbersome and extremely delicate, requiring a complex moving process. In addition, Adler staff requested that it remain inside its custom-made frameless glass case at all times.
Further complicating the design, the Capsule’s new base stood only one inch off the floor, eliminating the use of standard rigging techniques and equipment.
Utilizing four customized, synchronized hydraulic jacks, Flyhouse was able to raise the entire display smoothly off of the ground, allowing the exhibit’s wheels to be removed without tilting or jostling the Capsule. The exhibit was then smoothly lowered to its new low-profile platform while remaining completely level and stable.
Flyhouse is extremely proud to have been entrusted to handle this irreplaceable artifact of human history.