Above: A beautiful rendering of a Gemini B / MOL by Numbers Station favourite John Sentovic found in the Krafft Ehricke Papers. Below: Gorgeous artwork of the same by Lockheed artist Ludwik Źiemba. At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking they were the same image, I certainly did. My guess is that both are based on the same cutaway by a McDonnell draughtsman. The industry term for this is, “heavily referenced.”
A manned orbital space space laboratory would be able to operate for several months without resupply. Basic Garrett-AiResearch systems could be slightly modified to meet requirements for environmental control, life support, cryogenic storage, power and attitude control for both the command module and laboratory.
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.