One of my relatives has this metal component sitting in their backyard. It was a souvenir that my grandfather got to keep from his days working in the aerospace industry (primarily for Boeing). My grandfather has passed on now, but if I recall correctly, when I was a kid he told me that this part was from a prototype space capsule:

Capsule part in backyard

I don't know how old this part is, but it's been sitting outside for at least 30 years and I would guess it's at least a few decades older than that. Other than dust, the part has no wear or corrosion despite its decades of exposure to the elements. I think the tank underneath came with it but I'm not certain about that.

It bears a strong resemblance to the hatch area of an Apollo capsule, but the Apollo capsules I've seen all have slanted windows on both sides of the hatch:

Apollo capsule assembly

Is this souvenir indeed a space capsule component? Is it possible to identify which series of capsule it was from?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space SE, very cool question! If you can add a measurement to your description it might help a lot since capsules have changed dramatically in size and taper. For example if you take these three corner-to-corner measurements i.sstatic.net/7LFcv.png and multiply by $\sqrt{2} \approx 1.414$ you get the three diameters (central hole, top, and bottom). Adding the heigh will allow for the slope angle to be calculated as well. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ It does bear some resemblance to a Block I Apollo CSM. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ Can you take a very close look at all surfaces? I'd be surprised if there isn't a part number or similar ID string imprinted somewhere. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ There's something odd with the geometry of this piece: there is more metal between the "windows" on the edge and the top curved part than there is between the central "hatch" and the same top curved part. This implies that the three-section area is actually flat and not part of a cone. $\endgroup$
    – Ludo
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Ludo - it's hard to see from this angle if it matches - but you may be right. Also mockup seems much more plausible - it would be nice to have more pictures. Maybe that's not even metal - those 2 reinforced areas above main hatch seems like something I would do to reinforce thin plywood for hatch hinges. Before CAD 3d modelling, a lot of different mockups were build in design process so this may be one of them.. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Spurny
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 11:11

2 Answers 2


I agree with the first comment, we would need dimensions of the component. That being said NTRS is my first go to place for documentation: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/

Specifically (in this case) the Apollo Skylab Operations Handbook Command Service Modules CSM 116 thru 118 MSC-04785 Volume I. It has all kinds of dimensions you can compare against the object you have: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20160013589/downloads/20160013589.pdf

  • $\begingroup$ I have not had an opportunity to visit the relative recently and so haven't had a chance to measure it. That said, the handbook is certainly cool, but it's over 1000 pages so not exactly a quick reference. I was hoping someone here could make an easy visual identification but it sounds like that's not possible. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 17:46

Now, I could be wrong, but judging by the age, size, and workmanship (which looks pretty darn good for it's age in my book!) it's most likely an Apollo re-entry capsule. [here's all you need to know about it] [1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_program#Command_and_service_module

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    $\begingroup$ It is no the Apollo re-entry capsule, it may be a part of it. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 8:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe I'm sorry for my unclear language, that's what I meant. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ I'm in awe of the absurdity of saying "here's all you need to know about [the Apollo CSM]" and linking to Wikipedia. from here. $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ @ErinAnne it has three whole paragraphs! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 1:56
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    $\begingroup$ @ErinAnne ok, picky, here's the whole damn article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_command_and_service_module $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 16:18

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