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Apollo Boilerplate

The Udvar-Hazy Center displays as otherwise-ordinary-looking boilerplate (identified by a sign as BP-1102A), but it is decked out with Apollo 11's uprighting bags and flotation collar.

When the command module would splash down, it would rest in one of two positions: Stable I ("pointy side up") or Stable II ("pointy side down"). Of course, for the astronauts strapped to the couches (who would be hanging upside down in Stable II) and to the frogmen attempting to open the hatch to recover the astronauts, Stable I was much preferred.

There were three "uprighting bags," inflatable spheres (looking somewhat like giant soccer balls) which would flip the command module from Stable II to Stable I.

For additional information on the uprighting bags, refer to Apollo Experience Report - Command Module Uprighting System.

I'm not sure if it's age, the museum's preparation to make the bags look inflated, or something else, but the uprighting bags have turned from an off-white color to an orangish-brown.

 

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