May 18

Space Rocket History #389 – Skylab – Pre-history – MOL Part 3

A planning document depicted 12-man and 40-man stations, both with self-defense capability. It described the 40-man, Y-shaped station as a “spaceborne command post” in synchronous orbit. The key requirement was “post attack survivability”, the station would be capable of “Strategic/tactical decision making” during a general war.

MOL Spacesuit

Launch of MOL Test Flight

Future MOL Command Post

May 04

Space Rocket History #388 – Skylab – Pre-history – MOL Part 2

Strangely enough the MOL astronauts only knew of the cover story that the program would be a space laboratory for military experiments and did not learn of the reconnaissance role until after selection.

Manned Orbiting Laboratory

Mockup of MOL

Gemini B Heat Shield with Hatch

Apr 20

Space Rocket History #387 – Skylab – Pre-history – Dyna-Soar & MOL

NASA feasibility studies determined that a research space laboratory could be placed in orbit by 1967. However, to fund such a project it had to be justified by achieving a national goal, or an important science goal, or test of technology.

X-20 Dyna-Soar

MOL Configuration

Gemini B

May 22

Space Rocket History #64 – Gemini V with Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad – 8 Days or Bust -Part 2

This was Flight Director Chris Kraft’s first major problem at the new Mission Control Center in Houston.  He knew the spacecraft had enough battery power for reentry even if the fuel cells failed completely, but he needed to know if there would be time enough to reach a good reentry zone, such as the mid-Pacific near Hawaii on the sixth orbit…

Cape Kennedy

Cape Kennedy

Baja

Baja

Fuel Cells

Fuel Cells

Recovery of GT-5

Recovery of GT-5

Gordo

Gordo

USS Champlain

USS Champlain