Unusual Capsule
Friday, 22 June 2001
Unusual Capsule
When the Science Museum decided to replace the Steel House exhibit with a capsule identical to the ones currently in use on The London Eye on the Thames, it called on the services of Unusual Rigging. The work involved entailed lowering the house, dismantling and removing it, bringing in the capsule, building it and hanging it. Directly below the space where the steel house was hanging was a large beam engine, which could not be moved and also had to remain visible as an active exhibit during the install. The Unusual team had to carry out all the work during nights as any impact on the normal running of the museum was unacceptable.

A large truss table was constructed above the beam engine. Once this was built, the Steel House was lowered onto the working platform and then dismantled. The component parts were lowered over the side of the platform using a chain hoist, suspended from the roof of the building. The capsule arrived in two parts. The first consisted of the side pieces and the second was a flatbed, with the top and bottom of the capsule.

The upper and lower sections of the capsule were delivered in individual L-shaped steel frames. These were too high for the access doors of the museum, so Unusual devised a way of getting the units in by extending the lower edge of the frame and rotating the shell 45 degrees, hence reducing the overall height. Once in the building, this rotation process was reversed, because there was sufficient height in the museum to get the exhibit to its destination, but insufficient gangway width. Four riggers were used to install suspension points in the roof. Once in place, the top and bottom sections of the capsule were lifted onto the platform and the manufacturers re-assembled the unit. The completed capsule was then lifted into position and fixed to the suspension points.

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