NASA's Human Training Centrifuge — an awesome piece of the space race history — was for sale on eBay and nobody bid. For just $12 million, you could've had the largest human centrifuge ever built and trained like an astronaut.
The Johnsville Centrifuge lives inside the Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, Pennsylvania. It was designed in the late forties and put into operation in 1949 to address the ever-faster and more demanding operating environment of super- and eventually hypersonic high-G aircraft. Pilots trained in this beast for the rigors of high-G flight in the X-15 program, for the F-14, and practically anything the Navy flew back in the day.
The 4,000 HP General Electric motor was capable of spinning the massive 50-foot arm up to 170 mph with sustained operation developing a staggering 32 Gs of force. The highest loading any human was ever able to sustain without passing out was around 20.7 G's (that means the average man's weight in 1960 of 166 lbs turned into a perceived weight around 3436 lbs!).
In 1962, it was re-engineered and transformed into the world's most sophisticated flight simulator, with full instrumentation and the ability to simulate everything from vicious dogfights to ejection procedures. When America decided to turn its eyes to the heavens and venture into space, the Johnsville Centrifuge was repurposed to train astronauts for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions and was even used for training in the early space shuttle missions. Neil Armstrong trained in this baby.
When NASA vacated NADC, it was relinquished to the local government, which sold it to a private company, which in turn transformed the facility into The Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum. The Centrifuge sale on eBay was really just testing the waters to see if there was any public interest in the sale of the facility, but it certainly would be glorious to plug the motor back in and fire this sucker up. We've bought plenty of other stupid stuff in way worse condition.
So whaddya say? Anyone want to go in halfsies? (Hat tip to Charlie!)
eBay Listing, NADC Museum]