Alternative to STS program.

carmelo

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What if in 1971-72 the Congress of United States had rejected the Space Shuttle program?
Was realistic the end of all USA manned programs,or yet in 1969 this option was dismissed by Nixon for National prestige reasons?
If we have no end of US manned presence in space,realistically which program could take the place of STS?
If i not wrong,Big Gemini were only a McDonnel proposal, and were not way to continue with a Skylab program for the end of Saturn V and IB production (ok,you can replace Saturn IB with Titan IIIC,but the Saturn V for launch the subsequent Skylab stations you can not remplace).
So?
Any idea of what they would do?
 

mz

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I'm not that well versed in the history, but couldn't they just quickly develop Saturn and Apollo-derived hardware with a roadmap for continuous incremental changes, all flying to Skylab.

The biggest new build would have been a single/twin Saturn 1B class F-1-derivative powered first stage with single tanks instead of a cluster.

For example this 6.6 meter diameter Saturn S-IC-TLB.
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/satictlb.htm

A new pad for such a rocket (maybe again reusing as much of Apollo / Saturn V infrastructure as possible, probably foregoing the milk stool approach though...). Would have required some reliability politics with no engine out capability in the first stage.

They had F-1A and J-2S in the pipeline at some point...

Alternatively, use the S-1C closer to "as-is" with just two engines and a S-IVB on top, the Saturn INT-20: http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/satint20.htm
 

carmelo

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The production of Saturn V was stopped in 1968,i think that also for IB was so,correct?
In 1972 production at least of IB can be restart?
 

Michel Van

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They terminate the V&IB production in august 1968
and mothballed the production line, around 1974/75 they scrap it.

It was keep mothballed so long in case, the soviets will land on moon in 1970s
check his Memorandum I-46 (special thank to "e of Pi" from Alternate History forum for this link)
http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4407/vol4/cover.pdf

from 1980s to 2004 they look on rebuilding the Saturn V after the Blueprints
but they figure out, each time that Saturn hardware was utterly obsolete, Materials no longer used like this Aluminum alloy for tank or Asbestos for thermal isolation
also were the electronics museum piece, IBM no longer produced them since 30 years

in end they came to conclusion it much cheaper to build new Rocket with Rebuild F-1A and J-2S or SSME
 

blackstar

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There were a number of studies about using various parts of the Saturn V, either the first stage only, or second stage as first stage for a smaller rocket. They certainly could have restarted production. Keep in mind that there were a number of proposals for using the F-1 engine for shuttle as late as 1971-72. So it was not impossible to restart production on the Saturn. I suspect that North American even kept much of the tooling for Apollo for awhile just in case.

There is somebody working on a book on Nixon's space policy that will go into the decision making at the top level (not really the technical evaluations). I think that one problem with restarting Saturn/Apollo in your scenario is that if Congress killed the shuttle, what does that really mean? Did they do it because they no longer want human spaceflight? If so, then you're not going to restart Apollo. The other problem is that even if they kill shuttle and are okay with continuing in some other way, those major decisions require time to recover. So if they killed it in 1972, it might take a year or two or three just to get everybody back to the table in agreement on what should happen next. And the government was completely different by 1975 because of Watergate.
 

carmelo

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blackstar said:
I think that one problem with restarting Saturn/Apollo in your scenario is that if Congress killed the shuttle, what does that really mean? Did they do it because they no longer want human spaceflight? If so, then you're not going to restart Apollo. The other problem is that even if they kill shuttle and are okay with continuing in some other way, those major decisions require time to recover. So if they killed it in 1972, it might take a year or two or three just to get everybody back to the table in agreement on what should happen next. And the government was completely different by 1975 because of Watergate.
This is a good question.
Well,for what i know,the end of the American human flight was one of three proposal on Nixon's table after the rejection of the unrealistic and counterproductive Thom Paine's post Apollo plan.
First proposal was the end of manned program,second STS program without space station,third a BigGemini/station program (maybe Saturn IB derivate dry workshop? I dont'know).
End of Human flights was considered unaccetable for reason of national prestige and national security,and Nixon'choise was on the Shuttle.
But..
In 1970-71 opposition to Shuttle was strong in Congress,and is said that the program passed for nerrow,for very few votes.
So,if in 1972 STS was rejected,considered that theend of manned flights was unaccetable,what kind of program they pulled out?
I think likely some type of space station program comparable to Sovietic Saljut program,but with which vehicles?
I have see several concepts that seems cover this possibility: six men Apollo command modules and service modules with cargo bay,big gemini vehicles..is not possible that in 1970-71 NASA not had a "plan B".
 

Michel Van

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Had Nixon faced by a 1972 STS rejection of Congress and no manned Lunar activity by Soviet Union

He had take the worst option in space plans they gave him in 1968
Abandon all US manned spaceflight activity by closure of JSC and MSFC after 1975 ASTP
saving several billion dollar to the tax payers
 

carmelo

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Soviets could not be on the moon,but were in orbit.
Nixon already had rejected the stop to manned flights in 1969,why had decide this in 1972?
And the voters in manned space sectors?
Anyway i don't think that also if Nixon had killed any US manned program,United States would not back in space,especially with the Cosmonauts above their heads (maybe with Reagan spacewars)?
 

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carmelo said:
I think likely some type of space station program comparable to Sovietic Saljut program,but with which vehicles?
I have see several concepts that seems cover this possibility: six men Apollo command modules and service modules with cargo bay,big gemini vehicles..is not possible that in 1970-71 NASA not had a "plan B".

I don't see Gemini in this role in any way. It was just too limited a vehicle. And Big Gemini was a paper study. It would have been much easier in 1972 to restart Apollo/Saturn production than it would have been to build an entirely new Big Gemini vehicle. So if the goal was to continue American human spaceflight, the easiest option is to continue (restart) building what you have already built for a long time already. Plus, all the handling facilities at the Cape still existed. That makes it an easy, less-expensive, choice.
 

Michel Van

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carmelo said:
Soviets could not be on the moon,but were in orbit.
Nixon already had rejected the stop to manned flights in 1969,why had decide this in 1972?
And the voters in manned space sectors?
Anyway i don't think that also if Nixon had killed any US manned program,United States would not back in space,especially with the Cosmonauts above their heads (maybe with Reagan spacewars)?


it was one of the many space program proposals given to Nixon.

The "Integrated Manned Space Flight Program"* by Space Task group
Manned Mars Flights by NASA MSFC and Von Braun
More Apollo flights to the Moon with option for Moon Base by ?
A big 12 men space station by NASA (JSC?)
and the option to shutdown the Manned US space flight by closure of JSC and MSFC by some advisors on US budget

in the end Nixon took a little component from gigantic "Integrated Manned Space Flight Program" the Space Shuttle

*="Integrated Manned Space Flight Program"
a proposal that similar to "2001 A space odyssey" infrastructure
for 1980s:
Manned Space Base with 48 astronauts, GEO Space station with 12-24 Astronauts
Nuclear Tugs for Earth moon and Earth Mars mission
a Lunar Base with 24-48 men and Lunar orbit station with 12-24 men
Manned Mission to Mars with 6-12 men
and over 40 launches of Saturn V and hundreds Shuttle flights

the prise tag was $500 Billion in 1969 (today one Trillion us Dollars!)
 

carmelo

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Michel Van said:
it was one of the many space program proposals given to Nixon.

Yes,above i have write about.
Nixon rejected the shutdown of manned space flight for reason of national prestige and security.
 

carmelo

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blackstar said:
I don't see Gemini in this role in any way. It was just too limited a vehicle. And Big Gemini was a paper study. It would have been much easier in 1972 to restart Apollo/Saturn production than it would have been to build an entirely new Big Gemini vehicle. So if the goal was to continue American human spaceflight, the easiest option is to continue (restart) building what you have already built for a long time already. Plus, all the handling facilities at the Cape still existed. That makes it an easy, less-expensive, choice.

I agree,i dont'see realistic the Big Gemini option.
Maybe is more probable a program based on Apollo capsule launched above some Saturn variant (Saturn INT-20 ?) or Saturn IB or even Titan IIIC,and after Skylab (and at this point a probable Skylab-B), more small workshop launched by INT-20 or IB or Titan IIIC.
The American equivalent of Saljut program.
Paradoxically in a situation like this there not would have been the gap of six years from 1975 to 1981 in Us manned space flight.
Maybe would have been some spaceplane ( of ESA's Hermes size) in late 80s or 90s as ferry for the station,or (less probable) a new architecture based on Apollo/Saturn evolution for the return on the moon.
 

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carmelo said:
blackstar said:
I don't see Gemini in this role in any way. It was just too limited a vehicle. And Big Gemini was a paper study. It would have been much easier in 1972 to restart Apollo/Saturn production than it would have been to build an entirely new Big Gemini vehicle. So if the goal was to continue American human spaceflight, the easiest option is to continue (restart) building what you have already built for a long time already. Plus, all the handling facilities at the Cape still existed. That makes it an easy, less-expensive, choice.



I agree,i dont'see realistic the Big Gemini option.
Maybe is more probable a program based on Apollo capsule launched above some Saturn variant (Saturn INT-20 ?) or Saturn IB or even Titan IIIC,and after Skylab (and at this point a probable Skylab-B), more small workshop launched by INT-20 or IB or Titan IIIC.
The American equivalent of Saljut program.
Paradoxically in a situation like this there not would have been the gap of six years from 1975 to 1981 in Us manned space flight.
Maybe would have been some spaceplane ( of ESA's Hermes size) in late 80s or 90s as ferry for the station,or (less probable) a new architecture based on Apollo/Saturn evolution for the return on the moon.

The cutbacks were worse than you may realize. These options may not have come to fruition. After all, the Skylab 5 mission was never flown, nor were the ones to change its orbit. In addition, a fully operational 2nd Skylab was built, Skylab B, but its launch and all of its missions were canceled and never flown. The Skylab on display at the National Air and Space Museum is not a mockup. It's the actual Skylab B. The first two stages of the Saturn V on display at the Johnson Space Center were to be use to launch Skylab B (the third stage came from the canceled Apollo 18). Without the STS program, I'm not all that sure anything would have flown.
 

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F-14D said:
In addition, a fully operational 2nd Skylab was built, Skylab B, but its launch and all of its missions were canceled and never flown. The Skylab on display at the National Air and Space Museum is not a mockup. It's the actual Skylab B. The first two stages of the Saturn V on display at the Johnson Space Center were to be use to launch Skylab B (the third stage came from the canceled Apollo 18).

To quibble a bit with that, I think that officially Skylab B was always a "backup" workshop not slated to fly unless the first one failed. And if they were really going to fly it, they would have started running out of Apollos to launch to it.

Now a colleague who has looked at some of the records has said that the story is actually more complicated. Opposition to flying Skylab B actually came from within NASA from people who were holding out hope for building a newer space station. They figured that if Skylab B got launched, they could not argue for a new station, so they wanted it grounded.

Tom Frieling wrote a good article on Skylab B around 2005 or so for Quest magazine. You can find a copy on the net if you look. Frieling went into that project thinking that it was a travesty that they built it and never flew it, but after examining a lot of the documents he concluded that it just would not fit into the budget and the program once NASA was committed to shuttle. Only if there was no shuttle approval could you think about using it.
 

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blackstar said:
Opposition to flying Skylab B actually came from within NASA from people who were holding out hope for building a newer space station. They figured that if Skylab B got launched, they could not argue for a new station, so they wanted it grounded.

The only thing that comes to mind is: "idiots". :eek:
 

Michel Van

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NASA and "Idiots" yes that be true

The Option of Sklab B was drop for cost and incompatibly Problems, between the Shuttle and Apollo Hardware used in Skylab B

also they wanted newer station and made zillion studies since 1974 for big Space station until 1984, Ronald Reagan wanted a big space station
and what do NASA ? instead to take one of those designs, they start all over again until found the Dual Keel configuration Aka Freedom.
but instead to freezing the design, they start study in which way it had to be launch and build
to make matter worst the US congress start to play along with NASA about how Freedom has to be build
then president Bush SEI came along and Freedom became a large space dock for manned Moon ind Mars Mission.
no wonder some critic start to called it FreeDOOM in that time
after slow quid death of SEI Freedom became Space station FRED then Alpha with Russian help.

Now you think with this mess NASA had learned from this lesson with Freedom ?
Nope under Alpha, the nut game start all over again...
 

carmelo

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Michel Van said:
NASA and "Idiots" yes that be true

The Option of Sklab B was drop for cost and incompatibly Problems, between the Shuttle and Apollo Hardware used in Skylab B

Incompatibly?
 

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carmelo

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Was a study about original Skylab reuse and upgrade with Shuttle...

...and Skylab B can be upgrated before the launch.
They could have a huge station in orbit for 1981 at less cost that develop another brand new.
 

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Michel Van

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carmelo said:
Was a study about original Skylab reuse and upgrade with Shuttle...

...and Skylab B can be upgrated before the launch.
They could have a huge station in orbit for 1981 at less cost that develop another brand new.

yes the first is Skylab A reuse, because it was already in Orbit
Original it was planned to salvage Skylab A in orbit with first flights of Shuttle from on 1978
but here start problems
The Atmosphere of Skylab A/B was based on Apollo cabin pressure 4.8 psi vs 14.7 psi of Shuttle cabin
you can pressure up Skylab A maximum around to 9.6 psi, otherwise the Windows are blow out hull !
The plans had envision that Shuttle reduce pressure under 9.6 psi while OWS pressure is rised to minimisations the pressure balance in airlocks

the CSM/Skylab docking tunnel was 30 inches (0.76 m) in diameter so you can't move Spacelab Labo racks into Orbital Work shop.
the wanted connect a new Docking module at Multiple docking adapter and connect Spacelab module and new Power module.

But Shuttle delay to 1981 and Skylab fall down in 1979


On Skylab B
there were "lobby group" who proposed to Launch, it with last Saturn V in 1980s as new Space station.
but Skylab B is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. since 1976.
i don't how the Smithsonian Institution would react, if NASA comes along with judicial order to seize it.
Is only the Workshop that stand in the National Air and Space Museum
the Multiple Docking Adapter is on display in Kennedy space center
and the ATM was salvage by NASA in 1970s, for 100 kW Power Module to visit by Shuttle in orbit
That project was terminated with new Administrator James M. Beggs, with option of new Space station under President Reagan
Also the NASA administration no interest to modify the Workshop for Shuttle Hardware with new Docking module and new airlock
and to reactivate the last Saturn V how is on display Johnson Space center since 1975
while the NASA budget was cut down to minimum under Reagan administration

they went for new Space station launch by Shuttle…
 

blackstar

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Michel Van said:
On Skylab B
there were "lobby group" who proposed to Launch, it with last Saturn V in 1980s as new Space station.
but Skylab B is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. since 1976.
i don't how the Smithsonian Institution would react, if NASA comes along with judicial order to seize it.

the Multiple Docking Adapter is on display in Kennedy space center

Once Skylab B was put on display at the Smithsonian it was impossible to fly it again. No way NASA would have done that after tens of thousands of people had walked through it (apparently today it has cracks). But there was also no capability of launching a Saturn V after around the mid-1970s. The ground equipment was gone.

Although space hardware is turned over to the Smithsonian, I believe that every agreement includes a clause that says that the government can take back the hardware if it needs it. They have done that for some small pieces of hardware in the past. I forget the details, but it has happened.
 

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blackstar said:
Although space hardware is turned over to the Smithsonian, I believe that every agreement includes a clause that says that the government can take back the hardware if it needs it. They have done that for some small pieces of hardware in the past. I forget the details, but it has happened.

After Columbia, NASA took some wing leading edge parts from the Enterpise shuttle sitting at Udvar-Hazy for use in some sort of analysis or accident reconstruction.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/72/2
 

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TomS said:
blackstar said:
Although space hardware is turned over to the Smithsonian, I believe that every agreement includes a clause that says that the government can take back the hardware if it needs it. They have done that for some small pieces of hardware in the past. I forget the details, but it has happened.

After Columbia, NASA took some wing leading edge parts from the Enterprise shuttle sitting at Udvar-Hazy for use in some sort of analysis or accident reconstruction.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/72/2

I'm slapping my head at that. I shouldn't have forgotten that, because I was involved, working as an investigator for the CAIB. NASA took both the landing gear door as well as some of the leading edge parts from Enterprise. I saw one of the foam shots against the door at the testing facility in San Antonio (also got a look at the bucket where they euthanize the chickens that they shoot at aircraft canopies). NASA later returned those parts to NASM and they were reinstalled on Enterprise.

But I think there have been some other cases too, such as EVA tools.

There was an interesting example in the 1980s when the USAF (or was it Navy?) traded for a Transit satellite that had been on display in the museum. They took that and in return gave the museum something else. The satellite was refurbished and flown. I'm too lazy to look it up right now.
 

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Opposition to flying Skylab B actually came from within NASA from people who were holding out hope for building a newer space station. They figured that if Skylab B got launched, they could not argue for a new station, so they wanted it grounded.

There is an interesting space whatif to be made from this. Imagine that Alan Bean could never repair Skylab A in May 1973.
There was to be a 10 month delays for Skylab B launch that would have put launch circa March - April 1974. Well, with perfect hindsight that's still too early to wait for STS-1 or STS-2, far away in the early 80's.

But now imagine that the derelicted Skylab A hull had been abandoned in space without any Apollo reboost late in the year 1973 (since no manned mission would have been flown to the destroyed workshop).
The abandoned Skylab A would have reentered as per OTL, I mean, uncontrollably. Except it would have reentered well before July 1979... and that would created serious headaches with Skylab B. "What, another Skylab to re-enter incontrollably ? Are you kidding ? we still have that fine to paid to the Australian governement"

So perhaps NASA would have been forced to build the reboost module after all. At worse it would have desorbited Skylab B properly. At best, it could have saved it. In all case, it should have been launched via an ELV, with automated docking. Or perhaps carried by an Apollo.

Whatever the case, there might have been a slim chance to save Skylab B... and there, what I quoted above would have played against NASA. With Skylab B high there, no chance to ever fund Freedom. Try explaining a Congressman Freedom would be 100 times better than the old workshop. "Na, na, na, there's already a space station up there" Bolland and Mondale (and Proxmire) would have played that card.
(When Hubble got canned in 1976, some congressman said the Very Large Array that was being build at the time was already a telescope big enough, so there was enough telescopes for the moment. The VLA is as similar to Hubble Skylab B is similar to Freedom).

Can't see Reagan approving Freedom as he did on January 25, 1984...

Perhaps with Skylab B up there and the shuttle flying its original "crew and cargo" mission, NASA could have dropped all the Shuttle satellite business - when they tried to sell the shuttle as an Ariane competitor and ended with STS-51L.

And now the whole recent history of the US manned space program has now been derailed - for good or worse, only God knows. ;)
 

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Archibald said:
Perhaps with Skylab B up there and the shuttle flying its original "crew and cargo" mission, NASA could have dropped all the Shuttle satellite business - when they tried to sell the shuttle as an Ariane competitor and ended with STS-51L.

No, that would have still continued. Skylab B would not be enough work for the shuttle. Anyways, shuttle wasn't sold as an Ariane competitor, that was its role long before Ariane existed.
 

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Byeman said:
Archibald said:
Perhaps with Skylab B up there and the shuttle flying its original "crew and cargo" mission, NASA could have dropped all the Shuttle satellite business - when they tried to sell the shuttle as an Ariane competitor and ended with STS-51L.

No, that would have still continued. Skylab B would not be enough work for the shuttle. Anyways, shuttle wasn't sold as an Ariane competitor, that was its role long before Ariane existed.

Yeah, in order to get shuttle's flight rate up to where they could justify the economic numbers NASA assumed (invented) a lot of Spacelab flights. Something like 8-12 per year. Remember that as of the mid-1970s, NASA was estimating that it would fly up to 50 shuttles per year, and about a fifth of those would be Spacelab. But if you fly Skylab B, you don't need the Spacelab flights, and so it undercuts the flight rate and the economic justification.
 

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and what about "Evolutionary Interim Space Station Program" aka "Skylab A B C D proposal" ?

in 1971, engineers of OART at NASA proposed following Concept:
Apollo program ends with mission 15, the remaining Saturn V are used to launch 4 Skylabs in orbit, between early 1976 and late 1983.
as an evolutionary extension of the Skylab A/B Program
EISS start about three years after the third Skylab crew returned.

The first, ISS-A in 1976 to 1977,
would operate in a 454 km orbit inclined 28.5° relative to Earth’s equator. (ISS-A would be built from Skylab B.)
ISS-A is used for “biotechnology” research for 360 days by four 3 man CSM visit.
it got additional solar cell, because A-D missing the ATM
payload include a 1750-pound “Manned Onboard Centrifuge, 590 kg integrated Medical and Behavioral Laboratory Measurement System (IMBLMS).

ISS-B in July 1978 to July 1979
it got modifications to the ISS-A design to support larger 6 man crews on board
and is used for experimental Earth surveys for 360 days by eighth 3 man CSM visit were 6 men spend for 60 day on ISS-B
also IMBLMS program
with need of 15 kilowatts it will be equipped with more solar cells as ISS-A

ISS-C launch in 1981
it got modifications to support a crew of 9 men simultaneous
is used for experimental materials processing and manufacture
for a 45-day artificial-gravity test were the spent S-II second stage used as counterweight
and Biomedical experiments under IMBLMS program
next to solar-cell configuration of ISS-B it use also Isotope Brayton nuclear power units (lunch by Titan-III rocket)

ISS-D is launch with last Saturn V in 1983
and suport a crew of 12 men
ISS-D has three free-flying astronomy modules
next to solar-cell configuration of ISS-B it use also advance Isotope Brayton nuclear power units (lunch by Titan-III rocket)

The Apollo CSM is used on EISS but heat modified.
the SM are tanks replace by used on the LM, Fuelcell replace by Battery
the new free space in bays are used for 10 tons of supplies and equipment used on ISS

as Launch rocket they consider Saturn IB or Titan IIIM or hybrid S-IVB on Titan SRB
36 of them had to be used to launch the crew to ISS

source
Study of an Evolutionary Interim Earth Orbit Program, Memorandum Report MS-1, J. Anderson, L. Alton, R. Arno, J. Deerwester, L. Edsinger, K. Sinclair, W. Tindle, and R. Wood, Advanced Concepts and Missions Division, Office of Advanced Research and Technology, NASA Headquarters, 6 April 1971.

weblink
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/09/interim-space-station-program-1971/
 

carmelo

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Michel Van said:
in 1971, engineers of OART at NASA proposed following Concept:
Apollo program ends with mission 15, the remaining Saturn V are used to launch 4 Skylabs in orbit, between early 1976 and late 1983.

They wasted a lot of money,could build other 4 damned Saturn V!
 

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