Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL), an evolution of the earlier “Blue Gemini” program, which was conceived to be an all-Air Force parallel of NASA’s Gemini efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
A 1960 concept image of the United States Air Force’s proposed Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) that was intended to test the military usefulness of having humans in orbit. The station’s baseline configuration was that of a two-person Gemini B spacecraft that could be attached to a laboratory vehicle. The structure was planned to launch onboard a Titan IIIC rocket. The station would be used for a month and then the astronauts could return to the Gemini capsule for transport back to Earth. The first launch of the MOL was scheduled for December 15, 1969, but was then pushed back to the fall of 1971. The program was cancelled by Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird in 1969 after the estimated cost of the program had risen in excess of $3 billion, and had already spent $1.3 billion. Some of the military astronauts selected for the program then transferred to NASA and became some of the first people to fly the Space Shuttle, including Richard Truly, who later became the NASA Administrator.
This is a Boeing artist’s impression of how the Dyna Soar manned space glider will look when it re-enters the earth’s atmosphere after a flight into space. Leading edges of the craft will glow from the heat created by the friction of the vehicle passing into the atmosphere. Dyna Soar will be boosted into space by a modified Titan intercontinental ballistic missile. After being separated from its booster, the glider will be left in a piloted, near orbital flight. Its pilot later could glide to a conventional landing at an Air Force base. The Boeing Company, under supervision of the Air Force, is prime contractor for the system and the glider. The Martin Company is prime contractor for the Titan booster.
— Boeing Airplane Company Photo
News Bureau Boeing Airplane Company Seattle 24, Washington