• SA-made Pratley Putty helped put a man on the moon

    Date:23 July 2019 Author: Popular Mechanics Team Tags:, , , , , , , , , , ,

    The South African Mint has announced that the local invention will get its own commemorative coin, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing

    September 2019 is a special month for space travel enthusiasts and aspiring astronauts. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, when in 1969, Neil Armstrong and fellow NASA astronauts became the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface. Apollo 11, the spacecraft that took them there, was an engineering marvel and the result of years of hard work and innovation. That innovation had some South African assistance, and it came in the form a substance called Pratley Putty.

    Pratley Putty was invented by South African-born, George Montague Pratley, in the early 1960s. It’s creation offered a solution for Pratley, who was in need of a strong adhesive and insulator to be used in fixing cast iron cable boxes and brass terminals. The product was a technical and commercial success. It was used to repair the breached hulls of two South African ships and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It’s most notable assist was when it was used in the Ranger 9 spacecraft in 1965. Ranger 9 was one of the last unmanned spacecraft launched by NASA, with its purpose to capture high-resolution images and video of the moon.

    To celebrate the anniversary, the South African Mint has announced the creation of a limited-edition set of coins. The set includes a R1 Krugerrand featuring Ranger 9, and a R2 sterling-silver crown featuring the Apollo 11 lunar module. The continent of Africa can be seen behind the spacecraft, with South Africa clearly visible. The R2 crown also features the initials GMP, which refer to the creator of Pratley Putty.

    The commemorative coins form part of the Mint’s ‘South African Inventions’ theme as seen on the Crown and Tickey coin series that started back in 2016. Since then, other local inventions that have been featured include the first human-to-human heart transplant and the CT scan.

    The 50th Anniversary Moon Landing coin collection will be available at authorised retailers across South Africa, with only 500 sets available to purchase.

    Source: SA Mint

    Image: NASA

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