Andromeda Strain (1971) Satellite Prop help... and ID'd part?

dproc

Active Member
Have been investigating the Satellite prop from the 1971 The Andromeda Strain movie. Doesn't seem to be much info at all and cant find any replicas made out there. It's such a great movie and the Satellite is the main thing in it so it would be cool to replicate. It's not that fancy but still looks cool! It would make a great coffee table with a piece of glass over it!
I've studied screen grabs as best as possible and made up a rough model of the latch mechanism. I've just eyeballed the dimensions so far.
The base and the heat shield are pretty easy to see how they are shaped. The electrics and cables etc are a bit tricky but I did have a breakthrough of sorts!
There is a big socket on one side that I am pretty sure is a variant of a helicopter emergency power charging plug! ID : 6130-01-518-7039 if you google.
The backing plate is a little different so maybe its the model before it? Also there is a test device that uses the same plug. Maybe from that?
That's the good news! The bad news is that a real one if you are wanting to use it will set you back between $1500 - $3500 dollars!! For the plug! So guess I wont be using found parts! lol The other wiring might be some more helicopter harness or something?

So.. if anyone has any info, behind the scenes pics or the original prop sitting in there loft.. id love some more info! I will probably 3d print it at half scale in the end so it doesn't take up so much space. Maybe someone that machines aluminium parts might investigate and do a run? There has to be a few Andromeda Strain fans out there!

The mesh in the middle seems like could be imitated with brass mesh that is used in oil filters. Looks like might be close.
The little antenna looks like it is from a hand held radio... super basic. (NASA cheap'ed out on that after spending $3500 on their plug!)
Tiny asteroid with green paint flecks is up to you!

See attached my small headway so far... A lot to do yet, I just don't want to go to far and then find a blueprint and find its all off and have to start again!

Cheers!
 

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I like The Andromeda Strain also, and so was curious to see your post. Regarding the connector shown in your images, the basic shape and arrangement of 4-5-4 sockets seen in the film still seems like a good match to the item you located. The four corner mounting screw locations differ, but perhaps the prop makers drilled corner holes and mounted it in a unique manner to the rest of the prop.

I suggest looking on eBay or similar places for possible NOS (new-old-stock) connector purchases. I have found and purchased many vintage aerospace connectors from eBay sellers for one of my personal projects. I usually have paid $30-$50 USD for a vintage connector which when new probably cost somewhere from high three to low four figures. I then make 3D digital models of these connectors. Attached are two examples. Good luck with your project!
Connector MD63-00E9-19P Comparison.jpg

Connector MD63-06E9-19S Plug Comparison.jpg
 
It looks like the socket is connected via a braided wiring harness, around the collection chamber to another connector in the upper right-hand corner. That could be a (13-pin?) circular panel mounted amphenol connector. With the threaded portion facing right and covered with a metal shield? That should be more reasonably priced, You could make the harness from standard twisted pair wire. At first I tought the harness was made with zip ties, but the wires are cinched old school with a running black cord.
 
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Thanks for great advice! I can have fun in the rabbit hole of vintage connectors and always make replicas if I get some good images. I never considered the wires were not held with zip ties. Just assumed! But this is 1971.. have to think retro! Thanks!
 
Sometimes when you know how to do something - you just do it but do not know the proper terms to to explain it to others. So I had to look up the names of the knots you can use to cinch the wiring harness. There is a binding knot at each end and a series of simple overhand knots spaced an inch or so apart between the ends. I always used what is called a constrictor knot at each end. There are samples on line of a marline hitching which used a running bowline. I believe that has a nautical history for "bundling" sails and tarps.
 

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