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samg 03-15-2019 02:27 PM

Mercury Astronauts with Astro
While researching the Astro I found a picture of the Mercury astronauts in their desert training. Note the Astro strapped to the leg of Gus Grissom (sitting middle)and Alan Shepard (sitting right), you get a glimpse of the handle on the side of the astronaut sitting on the left.

The following photo if of the door going on Alan Shepard's Mercury capsule.
So close to seeing his Randall taped to the inside of the hatch!

This photo is of the inside of a Mercury hatch. No slots, so more than likely the knife was taped on.

samg 03-15-2019 04:21 PM

Here is another with an Astro strapped to the side of Wally Schirra

The handle on this one almost looks like the one on Slaytons knife. Does it look like it has finger grips? It's hard to tell, but you can make out the canteen snap and the stone pouch on it.
What do you think?

Here is Slaytons knife

samg 03-15-2019 05:28 PM

Another Mercury training photo with the Astros

Gus Grissom with his strapped to his leg

Looks like John Glenn with his on his side

Gordon Cooper with his Astro. Taped instead of scales?

crutchtip 03-16-2019 06:30 PM

I believe that is a Model 15 Airman on Schirra's belt, not an Astro. You can clearly see the finger grips and thin hilt.

It would be interesting to know if those Astro's are their personal knives or NASA supplied Solingen blades. I am guessing the latter.

The orange handle coincides with a couple of very early 16's that have a similar handle, all made out of fiberglass. Obviously the orange gel coat was used for visibility.

samg 03-16-2019 11:30 PM

You might be right about that Joe. He was a pilot and possible that he had a 15. Not quite sure why he would be carrying it, as Cooper wanted the training Astros made quickly so they could test them in survival situations. More to the mystery.

<img src="" alt="IMG-20190317-002831" border="0">

<img src="" alt="33143-IMG-1887t1" border="0">

samg 03-17-2019 07:33 AM

I have put the 2 knives together and now I'm not sure if it's a 15. Compare the distance between the bolts and notches, and also from the bolt to the edge of the hilt. Schirras seems to be a greater distance, an indication of an Astro hilt.
Also in the comparison, Schirras knife is more at an angle to the camera, whereas the 15 is flat. This angle difference makes Schirras points of distance appear shorter than they actually are.

<img src="" alt="Joint-Pics-20190317-083527" border="0">

Here it is with Slaytons handle. Hard to tell.

<img src="" alt="IMG-20190317-082811" border="0">

crutchtip 03-17-2019 08:24 AM

With lighting and blowing the photos up probably adds a bit of distortion to how it is perceived, but the view of Wally's knife is more from the bottom. No question in my mind.

Model 15 all the way! remember, these guys were pilots before they were astronauts.

Wally's knife has a thong, so it definitely is not the orange fiberglass

samg 03-17-2019 10:28 AM

After researching this photo further, it was taken with the gemini crew. Cool to know Schirra had a model 15 as well.

<img src="" alt="IMG-20190317-112455" border="0">

cut_n_run 03-17-2019 02:34 PM

I like the old blue/green handle material. Here's a newish Model 15 and a fairly old Astro.

samg 03-17-2019 07:24 PM

I found a video of the Mercury Astronauts training, and the Astros are clearly visible being used at the 6:38 and the 13:40 mark.

Here are a couple stills.

Notice 3 Astros in this still. The film is awesome!

samg 03-18-2019 06:25 AM

You can see the key/screwdriver made for removing the bolts on the Astro swinging from the lanyard at the 6:44 mark.

<img src="" alt="IMG-20190318-071925" border="0">

samg 03-18-2019 02:07 PM

As it turns out, the Mercury Astronauts did their survival training outside Reno Nevada. Stead Air Force Base was established by the United States Air Force (USAF) at the airfield in 1951, when it was determined that the Sierra Nevada and forests would be suitable for survival training.

Here is a link to a shorter version of the other YouTube video that I posted earlier. In this short clip, an Air Force Master Sergeant picks up and unsheaths the Astro prior to a demonstration with Schirra and Slaytons looking on. The image is clearer in the video.

<img src="" alt="IMG-20190318-150318" border="0">

samg 03-18-2019 04:32 PM

Ok guys, I'm having too much fun with researching the Mercury Astronauts use of the Astros, but I just found a very interesting film that shows Scott Carpenter at desert training with the Randall model 3 that Bob Gaddis mentioned on page 172 of his book!

samg 03-18-2019 09:49 PM

Here is a picture of Alan Shepard working with his Astro. Not sure what he's doing, but the sheath is just below the knife. I believe Shepard is laying in his Mercury life raft.

Sligo 03-18-2019 09:54 PM

Sam this was epic ! No doubts !

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