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MOL

Barrington Bond

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USAF Manned Orbital Laboratory.
 

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Antonio

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Barry,

could you please give more details about the design date for that MOL proposals?

The second one is shown on the pic albeit incomplete...

Thanks :)
 

Barrington Bond

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The first is from Missiles And Rockets 10 Feb 1964 second one 17 Feb 1964.

These ones are from a 1968 Encyclopedia Above And Beyond.
 

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flateric

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Nice pics, never seen some before. Thanks!
 

archipeppe

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Really interesting, and also previously unseen, pictures.
Many, many thanks Barrington!!!

As usual, I enclose my personal contribution to this topic.
 

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Michel Van

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thanks Barrington for MOL model Picture !

here from Fotos from my Databank
 

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aah finally,
these MOL's are the final defense against those nasty little perishers called space fighters.


in any event
great pictures'
thanks
 

Antonio

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Gentlemen,

Thanks a lot for that fascinating pics.

Michel,

could add some more info about what is that "Nuke Gemini"?
 

Michel Van

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USAF MOL had to be a manned Spy Sat
mean Polar Orbit from 93° op to 103° degree (like Corona Spy sat)
but solar panels Power supply give Problem with those Orbits, are to long in Earth shadow.
so USAF demand for Nuclear Power supply (Wat make MOL to heavy for launch with Titan 3M)
so solar panels/Fuel cells Power supply was taken

I think for MOL was to use a sun synchronous Orbit because of this.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun-synchronous_orbit

More Picture from MOL Gemini B
 

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Michel Van

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2 less know Picture of MOL

one: mit Big Radar dish

tow: MOLs dock together !

Credit: Gordon Phillips / US Air Force
 

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Michel Van

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Barrington Bond said:
Could be a SNAP reactor - I have a cutaway I can scan and post later.
is a SNAP reactor, Label on reaktor US AEC = United States Atomic Energy Commission,
they build Nuclear power systems for NASA

here Picture from Gemini B
I think is First operational version for MOL (no Mockup)
found on Ninfinger home page
 

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starviking

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Barrington, Michel, Archipeppe - Domo Arigato Gozaimasu!!

Great stuff! :D
 

Michel Van

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More Gemini B pict
 

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in all this we must also pay our respects to Model 176 that would have served to replenish the MOL.
 

Michel Van

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avatar said:
in all this we must also pay our respects to Model 176 that would have served to replenish the MOL.

Model 176 ?

by the way some saw the TV Doku Astrospies ?
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/astrospies/

show MOL and ALMAZ-TKS
including training of Astronauts and Cosmonauts on Hardware and Simulators ! ! ! !
 

Michel Van

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the follow on from FDL-7MC ... that is what model 176 was

that new for me
i always think the model 176 ( FDL-7MC ) had to supply big USAF LORL Station.
and that MOL was expendable deorbit and burn up after each mission.

by the way
next to the Hamilton MH-8 Spacesuit (final Suit for MOL)
were a Alternative version by Litton RX-3 Hardsuit for MOL
Idea: the Crew can survive Bail out in high altitude
 

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In a 1964 brief, Roland Quest of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, St. Louis, presented a fully reusable hypersonic glider, the so-called model 176, intended to be the crew delivery, crew return, crew rescue, and re-supply vehicle for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) crew (see discussion of its requirements in Chapter 1).

http://www.americanantigravity.com/documents/Hypersonic-Aircraft-History.pdf
 
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yeah but bailing out at that altitude .. all the way to earth or to our space glider .. which one would you prefer?
 

Michel Van

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yeah but bailing out at that altitude .. all the way to earth or to our space glider .. which one would you prefer?

i prefer the good old escape tower on top of Gemini B
was consider also as Bail out option for MOL

http://www.americanantigravity.com/documents/Hypersonic-Aircraft-History.pdf
i know that file: they declare MOL to Big Space Station with crew of 22 to 27 Astronauts :-\
that in really USAF LORL Station concept

MOL is only for 2 Astronauts and Orbital Lab would be destroy by deorbit after mission...
 
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okay so we will go with LORL then ... no solutions for the poor MOL blighters ... maybe Daedalus with wings would rescue them
 

Barrington Bond

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These articles suggest first Gemini then lifting body re-entry developed from ASSET results...
 

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Michel Van

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this is complet new stuff for me replace Gemini B with a Lifting Body ! ! !
 

Barrington Bond

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This is the cover to Rockets,Missiles and Spacecraft Odhams Books 1968. A lifting body that looks like it's derived from ASSET - perhaps they had something like this in mind?
 

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Barrington Bond

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Just came across a folder of stuff I printed off of Astronautix.com back in 2001 before I had a computer at home. I looked through it and thought I'd double check to see if the stuff had been updated but strangely there was a lot I couldn't find (big site though it could be buried somewhere there?!) So I've scanned the images and here they are...


Regards,
Barry
 

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Michel Van

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Boeing with McDonnell Gemini B ?!

is not the Douglas Aircraft Company major contractor for MOL ?
 

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A small fraction of the MOL-hoard I gathered at NASA HQ today...


As always, check the blog for higher-rez versions.
 

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blackstar

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archipeppe said:
Really interesting, and also previously unseen, pictures.
Many, many thanks Barrington!!!

As usual, I enclose my personal contribution to this topic.

The orientation is wrong. The camera did not look out the side, it looked straight down the tube. That way they did not have to carry a large heavy reflecting mirror. Think telescope, not periscope.
 

Barrington Bond

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Considering these are mostly the public image of MOL and not it's actual mission then perhaps a bit of misinformation is likely?! ::)

Regards,
Barry
 

blackstar

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Barrington Bond said:
Considering these are mostly the public image of MOL and not it's actual mission then perhaps a bit of misinformation is likely?! ::)

I was referring to the nice illustrations by Mr. Chiarra. They are based upon the drawings on the GlobalSecurity website, which are wrong. GS assumed an image reflecting mirror, but none was needed for MOL. An image reflecting mirror was only required when there was something preventing the camera from looking straight out the end of the spacecraft. For instance, additional reentry vehicles or the upper stage.

MOL was built like Hubble.
 

Archibald

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Possible upgrade of the Titan III with 156 inch SRMs was considered
in 1965 and 1967

(from astronautix)

1967 March 20
- MOL project delays, cost growth. -

Weight growth of the MOL station forced the Air Force to consider upgrading of the Titan booster. Stretching of the booster core or use of 156 inch solid rocket motors was considered. The Air Force also dithered as to whether to compete the Titan booster contract. Eight months were spent making the decision, and at the end of it all the first manned MOL flight was delayed to 1970 and the projected total cost increased from $ 1.5 billion to $ 2.2 billion.

1965

http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=AD0364762
 

archipeppe

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blackstar said:
I was referring to the nice illustrations by Mr. Chiarra. They are based upon the drawings on the GlobalSecurity website, which are wrong. GS assumed an image reflecting mirror, but none was needed for MOL. An image reflecting mirror was only required when there was something preventing the camera from looking straight out the end of the spacecraft. For instance, additional reentry vehicles or the upper stage.

MOL was built like Hubble.


Let me disagree with you in some points:

First of all MOL was not "built" (at the actual level of knowledge) but it was only realized in mock-up unit.

Second the Globalsecurity drawings are by Charles P. Vick really exstimeated and serious professional very well prepared researcher and, last but not least, a skillfull drawer.

Third, the MOL optics technologies was heavily based upon the KH-8 satellite, who had a mirror reflector to acquire images.

Fourth, what you refer is that the last generations of "KeyHole" (KH) satellites are closer to HST (Hubble Space Telescope) or, better, the last one is based upon KH technology.
 

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blackstar

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archipeppe said:
Let me disagree with you in some points:

First of all MOL was not "built" (at the actual level of knowledge) but it was only realized in mock-up unit.

Second the Globalsecurity drawings are by Charles P. Vick really exstimeated and serious professional very well prepared researcher and, last but not least, a skillfull drawer.

Third, the MOL optics technologies was heavily based upon the KH-8 satellite, who had a mirror reflector to acquire images.

Fourth, what you refer is that the last generations of "KeyHole" (KH) satellites are closer to HST (Hubble Space Telescope) or, better, the last one is based upon KH technology.

Responding to each of your points:

1-MOL was built, but not completed. I have photographs of the flight hardware under construction. Of course, no photos have been released of the final design.

2-Vick is wrong and often is. Vick made a guess many years ago and has never corrected it. I have talked to somebody who used to work in the intelligence community who saw a report on the final configuration. It was like a telescope.

3-The MOL optics were not heavily based upon the KH-8. Different cameras, different mirrors, different manufacturers.

And as I noted, you only need an image reflecting mirror if there is something at the end of the spacecraft that blocks the view. The KH-8 required an image reflecting mirror because the spacecraft had an Agena at one end and a satellite recovery vehicle at the other end (later versions had two SRVs). The image reflecting mirror was required to bring light into the tube. But if you take off the end of the tube, you can look straight out.

[sorry about the size of the attachment; I haven't figured out my software yet]
 

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Michel Van

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The KH-8 required an image reflecting mirror because the spacecraft had an Agena at one end and a satellite recovery vehicle at the other end (later versions had two SRVs).
The image reflecting mirror was required to bring light into the tube. But if you take off the end of the tube, you can look straight out.

can it be that the Agena was used for reboost the Spysat during its 275 days lifetime ?
(its Low orbit is 100 miles by 150 miles)
so it need reflecting mirror because there a Agena in the back

So far i know was MOL a Manned version of KH-9 Spysat aka KH-10
MOL offen shown with a Titan-III Transstage in Back, again need for reflecting mirror ?
early Picture of MOL by MDD show Small Cameras similar to the - One-Man Gemini- Earth Surface Mapping
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2691.0.html
MOL%20dessin.jpg

note the Cameras are those "Antennas" in the Back

On display in Seattle Museum of Flight, a Boeing “Manned Orbiting Telescope”
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=177

Wat show a USAF MOL dock to Space Telescope
mot4.jpg

mot6.jpg

here again need for reflecting mirror. or is his a docking tube for transfer of Film ?

Highly informative hour-long documentary about the Corona Project by CIA
http://www.archive.org/details/point_in_time
 

blackstar

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Michel Van said:
can it be that the Agena was used for reboost the Spysat during its 275 days lifetime ?
(its Low orbit is 100 miles by 150 miles)
so it need reflecting mirror because there a Agena in the back

So far i know was MOL a Manned version of KH-9 Spysat aka KH-10

1-Yes. KH-7 started with a General Electric developed Orbital Control Vehicle (or OCV), but still used the Agena as an upper stage to put it in orbit. During the first few missions (four, I believe) there was some concern about the ability of the OCV to perform the mission, so the Agena was left attached for the operational stage, then detached, and OCV did all the attitude control. This was a bad omen for General Electric, because it demonstrated that the Agena was capable. However, the real issue was whether the Agena could provide the pointing accuracy required. Lockheed demonstrated that it could, and during the upgrade to the KH-8, the OCV was eliminated and the Agena provided not only boost into orbit, but also on-orbit attitude and control as well as support (power, telemetry, etc.). Over the years, the KH-8's lifetime was increased, primarily through modifications of the Agena. Agena was vital for the KH-8 mission.

2-MOL was not a manned KH-9. They had different contractors and different designs:

KH-7/8
camera: Kodak
spacecraft: General Electric/Lockheed; Lockheed

KH-9 camera: Perkin-Elmer
spacecraft: Lockheed

KH-10 camera: Perkin-Elmer
spacecraft: Douglas

The image you have is an early concept. The vehicle changed over time, particularly after 1964.
 

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