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.”
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: Mike Acs