Astronaut-Maneuvering Unit

From Ohio History Central
White, Ed using the Manned Maneuvering Unit in 1965.jpg
This photograph was taken early in the EVA over a cloud-covered Pacific Ocean. The maneuvering gun is visible in White's right hand. (NASA). The space gun was a hand-held Manned Maneuvering Unit used by American astronaut Ed White on the first spacewalk in 1965.

Peter N. Van Schaik invented an Astronaut-Maneuvering Unit that allowed astronauts to maneuver in space outside of a space vehicle.

Van Schaik developed his device, a propulsion backpack, while working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio. The invention released nitrogen from a hand-held gun. The force from releasing the nitrogen propelled the astronaut in an opposite direction. Van Schaik's device was used for the Gemini Space Program. Astronaut Edward White II was the first astronaut to use the invention in outer space. On June 3, 1965, White departed from his space capsule, Gemini IV, and safely returned to it. Van Schaik eventually admitted that he based his propulsion backpack on a device from a "Buck Rogers" comic strip.