Below are a sequence of sketches authored by Wernher Von Braun to illustrate his concept of a crew escape (rescue) vehicle.
The above painting and sketch is Von Braun's idea of a protective ejection type capsule designed to save crew members in the event of an abort of the space vehicle. The notes on the sketch at right help to explain Von Braun's concept: Fig. 6 Details of life-saver (retriever) (Descent on chute) Ribbon parachute of 4.2 foot diameter. Ribbons of fine steep-wire mesh. Shroud lines of steel cable. Antenna released at explosion. Radar beacon activated at explosion. (Sends cycle comprising S-O-S, identification code, 30 sec-tone for taking of bearings.) (Parachute deployment from this parachute container) (Armrest two switch panel.) Foot pedal (Tip-toe)to override automatic air control. Solid rocket, burning time 2 seconds touched off by proximity fuse, when retriever 150 feet above water.
The following notes pertain to the lower left hand portion of the above right drawing: Bleeding valve ( for bleeding of exhaust air into open), Pressure reducer (automatically activated by closing of retriever), Oxygen outlet into retriever (ducted to head of man). Container with cold solid air. Oxygen is by passed (? word smudged) through solid air, when temperature in retriever becomes too high. Bypass valve is controlled by thermostate. Bank of oxygen flasks, CO2 absorber cartridge, combined with dehumidifier, de-odorizer.
The above right sketch is a detailed drawing of the crew station configuration of the space vehicle crew capsules shown in the above left painting. Wernher von Braun's notes on the drawing explain his design concept: Wernher lists the top sketch as (1) How, telescoped retriever is closed prior to expulsion and (2) How retriever is expelled and guided in three horse-shoe rails. The top sketch shows a window near the crewman's helmet. The bottom sketch shows a "Telescopic pneumatic expulsion cylinder" beneath the crewman's feet. Wernher notes about the expulsion lever: Expulsion lever snaps behind cylinder #2, when retriever is closed. Piston of telescopic expulsion cylinder can now accelerate cylinder until cylinder #2 has cleared opening in ship's skin. There is a parachute compartment behind the crewman's shoulders.