Microsoft celebrates the first moon landing's 50th anniversary by making an Apollo 11 hatch replica
Microsoft celebrated the 50th anniversary of NASA's milestone inaugural mission to the moon by getting involved - appropriately enough - in a large-scale, highly publicized engineering task. Known as Project Egress, it was set by Adam Savage of Mythbusters, Savage Builds and tested.com fame. The presenter asked 44 different crews to replicate the Apollo 11's hatch from a recently-generated 3D model, which is avaiable online now.
Microsoft was asked to make the main part of the replica. It may sound like a simple task; however, like nearly every other part of the Apollo craft, it was custom-built to exacting specifications so as to survive the journey through space.
Therefore, the company turned to a team at its Advanced Prototyping Center (APC) to complete this task. These individuals, who included Thomas Randall, a finisher; Eric Roth, a lead model maker; prototyper Jay Trzaskos and John Haley, APC's manager, were able to complete the task despite the absence of a workshop of typical NASA proportions.
Instead, the team fabricated the hatch, which measures 2 by 3 feet and weighs 65 pounds, using the advanced multi-axis CNC machines found at the APC. The Microsoft modellers also affixed over 200 brass inserts, to which the other teams working on Project Egress affixed their own replicated parts. The completed hatch is now to be displayed at the US National Air and Space Museum.