In 1960, a Clark County man sat alone in a capsule for 7 days to prove space travel could work for humans

Courtney A. Metzger spent a week sealed in a simulated space capsule in 1960, a year before man’s first space flight.

Metzger was assigned to the Aerospace Medical Research laboratory at Wright-Patterson during World War II.

In the first such space system to be tested, Metzger was isolated for seven days — the longest test at that time — in a nine-foot simulated space cabin resembling an Atlas missile nose cone.

His test proved the feasibility of sustaining men on long space voyages with oxygen providing chemicals instead of bottled oxygen.

He emerged from the test smiling and “feeling fine,” he said at the time. He said that he missed being with his wife and eight children. Also high on his priority list, he said, was to brush his teeth, shave and take a shower.

He said afterwards that he got tired of the strained foods in the toothpaste tube-like containers and lost four pounds over the course of the test.

The test was considered big news at the time. Metzger went to New York to appear on the TV show “I’ve Got a Secret,” with the space food, rubber exerciser and other equipment used during the week-long simulated flight.

A “Courtney A. Metzger Day” was held in his hometown of Springfield on Oct. 10, 1960. Metzger owned two farms in Clark County with a total of 235 acres.

Metzger said one of his most significant accomplishments was his role in the design and development of a water reclamation system for manned space vehicles using radio isotopes as a heat source.

Metzger died in 2003 at the age of 83.

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