Recovery of Director Van M259A1 from NASA

NDT

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Had a successful recovery today of a Nike Hercules "Trailer Van Director M259A1" from the NASA Johnson Space Center. Went a lot better than my last recovery there when the alternator on my 915 caught fire at the security checkpoint. This time zero problems.

NASA was using this until very recently as some kind of radio shack. Of course the Nike Hercules electronics are long gone. Apparently, at some of the more permanent Nike sites, the running gear would be removed and the van set on blocks (see picture of the van at the Marin County, CA Nike site). This must be from one of those sites. You can see where the running gear attaches. Very interesting to me that the van is made nearly entirely of magnesium. Need to keep the cutting torch miles away from this thing!
 

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Chief and Indian
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I have a sibling to yours, no bogie's for mine either. Mine says aluminum on all exterior panels.


IMG_2264.jpgIMG_2266.jpgIMG_2265.jpg

As a bonus, mine had a 50kw onan generator mounted in it.

IMG_1386.jpg
 
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NDT

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Thanks for posting. Maybe that magnesium story is BS. I read that on one of the Nike Herc vets websites.
 

Guyfang

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Nice score. Ouch diving out the emergency hatch might be painfull.
Indeed, it was not without scrapes and bruises when you had to bail out of one. In the early 70's we had many of these vans as storage, work and living quarters on our Hawk missle site. This van was my home, workshop and office for three years. 24 hour duty, every other day. We mounted a diesel stove in it to keep us warm. At the time, Nike Hurk was on its way out of the US forces, but all the rest of the NATO forces kept Nike up until the late 80's or early 90's. Early vans I saw were indeed magnesium. The unit went to the DRMO and brought the vans back to the Battery, three per platoon. One of them burned up in 76-77 and we then could no longer use them to sleep in. There was no reason to even call the Fire Department. It burnt up so fast, you could not have cooked a hot dog on it. After Hawk closed down, the Patriot guys got to loot the Hawk missle sites. I led such a band, and darned if I didn't find my old van on a site in 1993, shortly before I retired. I posted some pictures of our site in another thread, and you can see the van in the background.

If you are going to use your van as quarters, and install a heater, install it in the back, and do not block the exit path between you and that big door in front. Been there, done that.

Edit:

If you are looking for repair parts for these vans, contact junk/scrap yards in El Paso, or White Sands. That's were most of the vans went, when Nike died out. But, the Nike system was and probably still is being used today. At WSMIR, (White Sands Missle Range) they used/use the birds for Sounding Rockets. There is a guy in my ADA forum, who still works at repairing Nike chassis. No one there under the age of 65.
 
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