Ship Built in Space

Image credit: Boeing Aircraft Company

Image source: Apollo4Ever

Mission V

This is the part of the post where I normally provide a link to Astronautix and call it good. Who better than Mark Wade to give you context, right?

This is one of those rare cases where Astronautix doesn’t have all the answers, so I suppose this one’s on me. So what exactly is or was Boeing’s PARSECS?


In the late fifties the Boeing Aircraft Company conducted an exhaustive study that culminated in what they called the Program for Astronomical Research and Scientific Experiments Concerning Space. In essence, PARSESCS was a roadmap to a future in space that begins with manned spaceflight in earth orbit and ends with human exploration of other worlds. 
Boeing released a number of reports relating to PARSECS, notably one that accompanied a talk given by (then) SVP Wellwood E. Beall at the Commodore Hotel in New York in April, 1960 for the Society of Automotive Engineers. In the accompanying paper, Beall says: “The program has the general objective of providing a focus for Boeing personnel engaged in space-oriented research not directly associated with military programs. Specifically it tabulates requirements for space research drawn from many sources and then defines the vehicles and systems to accomplish the resultant broad scope of objectives.”

If you’re yearning for more information, I’ll suggest this thread on Secret Projects Forum. The technical paper that accompanied Beall’s SAE presentation can be downloaded here.

PARSECS MISSIONS

Mission I – Earth Satellite Observatory

Mission II – Moon Colony

Mission III – Counter Moon

Mission IV – Interplanetary Probes

Mission V – Close Solar Orbit

Mission VI – Trojan-Point Observatories

Mission VII – Out-Of-Ecliptic-Orbit

Mission VIII – Planetary Exploration

Image credit: Boeing Aircraft Company

Image source: Apollo4Ever

Satellite Observatory

Image credit: Boeing Aircraft Company

Image source: Apollo4Ever

Exploratory Vehicle

A Boeing design for a manned orbital or interplanetary reconnaissance vehicle. The vehicle would be built in orbit around the earth around the Earth, inside a plastic bubble having controlled atmosphere and pressure, permitting technicians to work without space suits. Propelled by a nuclear-powered plasma jet, it could travel to planets within our solar-system , carrying shuttle vehicles to make the actual observations of planet surfaces. Nylon nets, rather than flooring, would divide the vehicle into seven levels.

Eagle Book of Rockets and Space

by John W.R. Taylor and Maurice Allward
Longacre Press, 1961

Image credit: Boeing Aircraft Company

Image source: Numbers Station