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Bell No. 2 Rocket Belt

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This object is on display in the Rockets & Missiles at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Summary

Manufacturer: Bell Aerospace Company

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Overall: 3 ft. long x 3 ft. 1/2 in. tall x 2 ft. 11 in. wide, 125 lb. (91.44 x 92.71 x 88.9cm, 56.7kg)

Materials: Mainly aluminum framework; 2 outer tanks on back, stainless steel; middle tank, steel; fiberglass jacket with sprayed on ethafoam for cushioning and 4 nylon straps with aluminum buckles on each end; aluminum foil, secured with fine wire, around 2 pipes leading to nozzles. Steel control cables. One each short fabric-covered rubber tube protruding from each side of belt.

This is a Bell No. 2 rocket belt, also known as the Jet Pack or other terms. It is a small personal propulsion device strapped on the back and enables a person to fly short distances using low rocket power produced by a non-combusting gas.

The idea of the rocket belt appeared in "Buck Rogers" comic strips as early as 1929. Wendell Moore of Bell Aerosystems was the first to develop the invention in the mid-1950s. In the 1960s the U.S. military seriously studied the device as an aid to combat soldiers but found its short duration of just a few seconds too limited. Today, Jet Packs are mainly used for air shows, movie stunts or in football half-time shows and other events. This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1973 by Bell Aerospace.

Gift of Bell Aerospace Company

Inventory number: A19730264000

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