Why not Apollo hardware for MOL?

carmelo

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Why USAF not consider to use Apollo hardware for MOL?
The military-spy station could be launched by Saturn IB ,or more large, by Saturn V.
A MOL-Skylab type of station would be the advantage to be reusable for more that one mission.
Instead of Gemini-B,the crew could be on Apollo capsule (with small service module),on top of Saturn V for the first mission,and launched on Saturn I-B for the subsequents.
I think that a Apollo derived MOL program could be ready for 1969 (nothing development by Gemini-B,hatch in termal shield,Mol space suits,ecc).
Also Saturn launch vehicle could be used for launch of huge military payloads.
Buy Saturn by NASA and USAF could make more convenient the Saturn production.
Opinions?
 

Michel Van

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USAF and NASA try a collaboration with the Gemini program, Wat ended in dispute.
NASA consider Apollo as a high priority program and was not interested that USAF use Apollo hardware for MOL
One of reason why USAF take Gemini Hardware was, because the Program was terminated by NASA in 1966
Gemini was field-tested and R&D already paid by NASA, while first Apollo CSM was not ready to fly

USAF used Titan III as major launch vehicles in 1960s (Gemini launch with Titan II)
The Titan IIIC (and Manned version IIIM) was cheaper as NASA Saturn IB
also in 1967 the Production of Saturn IB stop and NASA needed them ALL for AAP, Wat became later Skylab and ASTP


I'm not sure
but had MOL to use Apollo Fuel cell and and parts of the SM Reaction Control System ?
some picture show that USAF think about reuse of MOL
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Byeman

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carmelo said:
Why USAF not consider to use Apollo hardware for MOL?
The military-spy station could be launched by Saturn IB ,or more large, by Saturn V.
A MOL-Skylab type of station would be the advantage to be reusable for more that one mission.
Instead of Gemini-B,the crew could be on Apollo capsule (with small service module),on top of Saturn V for the first mission,and launched on Saturn I-B for the subsequents.
I think that a Apollo derived MOL program could be ready for 1969 (nothing development by Gemini-B,hatch in termal shield,Mol space suits,ecc).
Also Saturn launch vehicle could be used for launch of huge military payloads.
Buy Saturn by NASA and USAF could make more convenient the Saturn production.
Opinions?

1. Because it wasn't needed and there were political reasons not too

2. Saturn IB was too expensive and couldn't do polar orbits.

3. Not true, there were other things on MOL that were expendable such as film and return capsules

4. Too big and overkill for the task

5. No, MOL was killed by then and it would have interfered with Apollo. The NRO would not have wanted the exposure of Apollo.

6. What heavy payloads? The DOD doesn't have a need.

7. Nope, Titans were cheaper.
 

archipeppe

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It don't was a matter of technology (besides the fact that all the above Byeman's considerations were correct) it was a matter of purpose.

MOL was a McNamara creature that was sort off the Dynasoar's ashes, USAF really don't need it and also don't have a clear mission for MOL. Ok several missions of manned military spacecraft were envisaged but any of them really worth the price and most of them were conducted more successfully thorugh unmanned systems (IMINT and so on...).

IMHO USAF could really never consider the Apollo technologies for its scope, too "civil" too expensive and less flexible.

In any case I suggests to read the whole Dwayne Day's articles devoted to such matter, appeared in the last years in The Space Review.
 

Michel Van

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archipeppe said:
MOL was a McNamara creature that was sort off the Dynasoar's ashes, USAF really don't need it and also don't have a clear mission for MOL. Ok several missions of manned military spacecraft were envisaged but any of them really worth the price and most of them were conducted more successfully thorugh unmanned systems (IMINT and so on...).


MOL had important role as Spysat: the need of Astronaut on trigger of the big Camera
because in begin 1960s the US had this problems, allot of made picture show: a closed cloud cover over the target and millions US dollar wasted
so USAF came up with Idea of manned spysat, but in 1968 MOL was death, my guess they found a remote control solution on that Problem
 

archipeppe

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Michel Van said:
MOL had important role as Spysat: the need of Astronaut on trigger of the big Camera
because in begin 1960s the US had this problems, allot of made picture show: a closed cloud cover over the target and millions US dollar wasted
so USAF came up with Idea of manned spysat, but in 1968 MOL was death, my guess they found a remote control solution on that Problem

Probably this was true in early 60's, but at the end of decade a manned spysat was a dead end, crew was regarded most like a disturbance sources than as a benefit...
 

blackstar

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The answer to why MOL was killed was of course complicated.

Yes, one argument in favor of MOL was that they would have a human telling the camera when to take a picture. But the solution to this is easy--carry more film.

Keep in mind that MOL was also apparently redesigned for automatic operation. Once you could take the person out, why do you need the person at all?

Finally, MOL was expensive. It ended up competing with the KH-9 HEXAGON (also expensive). The people in charge decided that they could afford only one, and KH-9 made more sense.
 

carmelo

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Ahhhh!!!!!!! B)

Michel Van said:

I think that a Apollo/Saturn MOL would be a more logical thing.
If you launch the Laboratory with reconnaissance telescope with a Saturn 1B (in Skylab way) you can have a single MOL that can be visited many times (for a single MOL three or four missions) by crew of two or three pilots in a Apollo command module.
NASA and USAF could share the Apollo/Saturn production.
 

Archibald

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The documents make very clear that Apollo was extremely ill-suited to the MOL role. Too big, too complicated (driven by the lunar flights).

The reverse concept - MOL for AAP - is slightly more realistic.

In an ideal world, the MOL pressurised section (read, a MOL with the Gemini B deleted) would have become Apollo's "mission module".
What I mean is a) takes a MOL out of the production line, off the shelf b) scrap the Gemini B, c) replace it by an Apollo docking ring and d) launch that in orbit ahead of a CSM - as a 30-days space station.
While this sounds logical, the timing is all wrong. Basically the MOL pressurised section come much too late for AAP - not before 1971 at best. AAP was to start in 68-69.
 

archipeppe

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My two cents:

MOL Gemini was pushed from McDonnell side considering that North Aviation was already committed in Apollo project while McDonnell was out of the business after Gemini's end.
Furthemore the Gemini spacecraft (indeed it was a real family like actually Soyuz is) had more growth margin rather than Apollo, since it was highly optimized for lunar orbit operations by since.
 

carmelo

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Yes,Gemini was more versatile...and your suspect that Gemini/MOL was a political gift for McDonnell,is plausible.
But a Apollo/Saturn hardware share between USAF and NASA,with a MOL as version of NASA AAP,seems a logical approach.
The USAF use of Apollo/Saturn system could make economically sustainable the Apollo/Saturn architecture for NASA.
Also Saturn launch vehicle could be used for launch of huge military payloads...i not see because a Saturn 1B launched from Vandemberg can not reach the polar orbit.
 

archipeppe

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carmelo said:
Yes,Gemini was more versatile...and your suspect that Gemini/MOL was a political gift for McDonnell,is plausible.
But a Apollo/Saturn hardware share between USAF and NASA,with a MOL as version of NASA AAP,seems a logical approach.
The USAF use of Apollo/Saturn system could make economically sustainable the Apollo/Saturn architecture for NASA.
Also Saturn launch vehicle could be used for launch of huge military payloads...i not see because a Saturn 1B launched from Vandemberg can not reach the polar orbit.

The point, Carmelo, is that USAF was never committed to Apollo programme since it was a real civil project by its start.
USAF wanted to manage its programmes in its own way while NASA managed its programmes in civil fashion and it was not accepted by the high spheres of USAF.
In other words Apollo and its applications were never seriously took in consideration by USAF for two main (and I say good) reasons:
1) Apollo was a truly civil programme totally aimed to put 3 men around the Moon, stop.
2) Apollo, and its Saturn launchers, costed too (too too) much for USAF pocket money (even in "that" period of History).

So, no way for a "Blue Apollo" or whetever.
On the contrary Gemini was appetible for USAF, it was cheap, easy, military fashion with those two astronaut cramped in side by side cockpit (like F-111 for instance) and it was versatile enough to be managed by military.
 

Michel Van

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Yes USAF look into use of Apollo CSM hardware for MOL

But there were some Problems with that
Apollo was running program under NASA were first Manned mission not yet had be launch.
Gemini also a Civil NASA program was just terminated, so USAF could take over the Production of Tested and flight proven Hardware, what Apollo CSM was NOT!
January 1967 disaster with Apollo ONE show how right the decision was to take Gemini hardware.

Another problem was how to launch Apollo MOL ?
Saturn IB had not capacity to bring a CSM and MOL into polar orbit
Either they put bunch solid Booster on expensive Saturn IB or goes for most expensive Saturn V, were the S-IVB make a complex maneuver to get in Polar orbit.

The Combination of Gemini with Titan IIIM was best for USAF: cheap, Easy and Gemini hardware was already design for USAF Titan Rocket.

it really sad that MOL not was transferred to NASA as Civilian program, they had Skylab with Apollo CSM..
 

Byeman

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carmelo said:
Yes,Gemini was more versatile...and your suspect that Gemini/MOL was a political gift for McDonnell,is plausible.
But a Apollo/Saturn hardware share between USAF and NASA,with a MOL as version of NASA AAP,seems a logical approach.
The USAF use of Apollo/Saturn system could make economically sustainable the Apollo/Saturn architecture for NASA.
Also Saturn launch vehicle could be used for launch of huge military payloads...i not see because a Saturn 1B launched from Vandemberg can not reach the polar orbit.

No, it was not more logical approach. It would be much more expensive for the USAF. The USAF had no need for Saturn V and Saturn IB did not have the performance for USAF missions. It would have been better for NASA to adapt to Titan for manned missions.

Titan III with solids flew 84 times. Many more than the 10 for Saturn IB. NASA even used 9 of the Titan III variants for unmanned missions. (1 C, 7 E and 1 commercial). So the logic is better for NASA to adapt to Titan than for USAF to adapt to Saturn.
Also, the Titan III flew with no solids 72 times which provided some synergy.
 

blackstar

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Just to be clear, if you look at all the MOL material on the program, the Apollo option was not taken very seriously and it certainly was not the program that they were pursuing. They had a contract for four Gemini spacecraft and the Titan. Gemini-Titan was the choice from the start, and Apollo hardware was only looked at in passing.
 
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