Prototype display model of laser transmitter used for a communications test experiment on Gemini 7, measuring 3 x 8.5 x 6, with white stenciled text on the top, "Display model of the RCA laser transmitter used for voice communications tests aboard Gemini 7, Presented to Mary Bubb by Nick Pensiero." The model has hinged covers that open to reveal a non-functional mockup of the main panel of the transmitter. In fine condition, with a few dings and scratches. Accompanied by an original RCA press release fact sheet about the transmitter and four original press photos related to the device. From the collection of aerospace memorabilia specialist Ken Havekotte, who notes that this is the only known display prototype model of the RCA-built laser transmitter. Mary Bubb was a noted space journalist, and Pensiero was director of public affairs for RCA's government systems division. The laser transmitter was used in an experiment to test the viability of optical communications from space, which proved unsuccessful. This was the earliest attempt at laser communications from space, which remains a subject of interest and experimentation today—the OPALS experiment, conducted on the ISS in 2014, was designed using a similar space-to-ground laser concept.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.