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Actuator, Dye Marker, Apollo


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Human Spaceflight exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

To assist rescue teams trying to locate a Command Module after an ocean landing, the spacecraft was provided with a Dye Marker Actuator in the spacecraft's forward compartment. The actuator was designed to release a packet of dye and a 12 foot-long communications umbilical into the water when a switch was thrown by an astronaut. The dye was sufficient to visibly color 1000 square feet of the ocean surface for 12 hours. The communications umbilical was designed to connect with the microphone headsets worn by rescue personnel, thereby enabling direct two-way communications with the crew inside the Command Module.

This actuator was discovered within a collection of miscellaneous components transferred to NASM following the completion of the Apollo Program. Its precise history has not yet been determined.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Found in collection. Donor unknown at this time. Found on NASM premises.


Aluminum, steel


3-D: 22.9 x 20.3 x 15.2cm (9 x 8 x 6 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number