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  Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) interior layout

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Author Topic:   Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) interior layout
avclubvids
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Los Angeles
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 07-11-2012 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for avclubvids   Click Here to Email avclubvids     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm an LA-based filmmaker working on a film centered around the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. We've found some extremely useful info on here, and I thought I'd reach out to you guys and see if anyone has an interest in helping to design an MOL interior set.

We've been scouring the web for weeks now and reaching out to people who seem to have a little more interest and info than most people do. If you have any desire to help out, please reach out to me and I'll get you looped in on what we are trying to do and what kinds of help we need.

For updates on where we are so far, I've been posting here. I'd gladly answer any questions anyone has, so fire away!

dtemple
Member

Posts: 609
From: Longview, Texas, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 07-11-2012 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you haven't viewed the PBS documentary, "Astrospies," yet then I suggest you do so.

The only Gemini MOL spacecraft launched is on display at US Air Force Museum at Cape Canaveral. An unflown one is on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

avclubvids
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Posts: 4
From: Los Angeles
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 07-12-2012 12:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for avclubvids   Click Here to Email avclubvids     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Astrospies" was the thing that first introduced me to the amazing MOL story, it's pretty well done!

We had found the locations of the Gemini B's here and have gathered a lot of images of the craft for reference.

We have found a single image of the inside of the MOL under construction.

And obviously there are a lot of articles, documents, and schematics floating around for what it might have looked like.

We found the Spacecraft Films DVD on Dyna-Soar and MOL thanks to this forum, but have not found the MOL camera training footage that the NOVA doc used.

What we need more than anything is more images of the MOL interior, or training mockups like they briefly show in the Astrospies doc, or of the underwater training they underwent.

I have yet to locate anyone who worked on the program who is willing to talk about it, super frustrating considering the fact that the programs around it at the time are all becoming unclassified now!

Any insight into these topics is deeply appreciated.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2269
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 07-12-2012 01:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe part of the reason why MOL is still classified likely has to do with the main camera system (KH-10 Dorian) probably being essentially the same design used on the KH-11 and KH-12 satellites. Sure, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) recently signed over a pair of apparent KH-11s to NASA for future use as potential space telescopes, but given that we haven't seen any images of them, I would say they are still being handled as secret items.

I've probably got the same data you've already sourced as I have one chapter related to MOL in my upcoming book (and I've got no diagrams of the MOL). Only thing I found somewhat interesting was the main living section of the MOL has no windows to look down on the Earth. Only view of the planet would come from the KH-10, unless a MOL astronaut crawls up the tunnel to chill out in the Gemini for awhile. Only other interesting bit is since the crews would be breathing an Oxygen Helium mixture, their voices would be all high pitched and squeeky, like deep sea divers breathing a similar HeliOx mixture (which as a byproduct would also be pretty effective in potentially obscuring the identity of a specific MOL crew on a mission if somebody tried to listen in on the air to ground transmissions).

Mr. Apollo 17
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Posts: 55
From: Ashland, OH USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 07-12-2012 02:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Apollo 17   Click Here to Email Mr. Apollo 17     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are comprehensive photos and diagrams and information about MOL.

If you could get into contact with one of the astronauts planned to go up on it like Bobko, Crippen, and Fullerton they might be able to tell you more from a point of view that is as good as you can get.

I will do more research into MOL for you and if I find more info for you I will email you it.

Obviousman
Member

Posts: 437
From: NSW, Australia
Registered: May 2005

posted 07-12-2012 05:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Obviousman   Click Here to Email Obviousman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I only know some general details about the MOL programme, and so am of no immediate help... but would appreciate it if you provide details in this thread of when your project gets aired, etc. I'd love to see it.

Jim Behling
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Posts: 688
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 07-12-2012 06:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
I believe part of the reason why MOL is still classified likely has to do with the main camera system (KH-10 Dorian) probably being essentially the same design used on the KH-11 and KH-12 satellites.
No. The KH-10 Dorian actually was started before the KH-9. KH-10 was a film system and there was requirement for it to operate in an unmanned mode and would have replaced the Gemini with multiple SRV's. It was this and the KH-8 that negated its reason for existence.

MOL camera layout:

Headshot
Member

Posts: 327
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 07-12-2012 06:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The October 1965 issue of Air Force and Space Digest has several articles about the MOL project including some very interesting art concepts. One is of a 100 ft inflatable antenna attached to a MOL Laboratory Module and the other shows several MOL Labs and their Gemini spacecraft lashed together.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 1126
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 07-12-2012 07:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is another photo of the blue Air Force MOL spacesuit and some comments by Bob Crippen in this NASA Kennedy History article.

WAWalsh
Member

Posts: 803
From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Registered: May 2000

posted 07-12-2012 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Apollo 17:
If you could get into contact with one of the astronauts planned to go up on it like Bobko, Crippen, and Fullerton...
Edgar Mitchell would be another person with information

albatron
Member

Posts: 2186
From: Stuart, Florida, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 07-12-2012 08:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by WAWalsh:
Edgar Mitchell would be another person with information

Ed Mitchell?

Skylon
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Posts: 176
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 07-12-2012 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though not selected as a MOL Astronaut, Mitchell was working as a Navy representative to the MOL program (Chief, Project Management Division of the Navy Field Office for Manned Orbiting Laboratory according to his NASA bio) before he was selected by NASA.

mercsim
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Posts: 143
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-12-2012 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mercsim   Click Here to Email mercsim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is some pretty cool stuff at Deepcold. It is a fictional spinoff of early Gemini and Dynasoar but the author did a nice job.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 688
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 07-12-2012 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Astronauts can not provide any real info unless officially debriefed and that also goes for Mitchell.

WAWalsh
Member

Posts: 803
From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Registered: May 2000

posted 07-12-2012 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by albatron:
Ed Mitchell?

From his NASA biography: From 1964 to 1965 he served as Chief, Project Management Division of the Navy Field Office for Manned Orbiting Laboratory.

avclubvids
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Posts: 4
From: Los Angeles
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 07-12-2012 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for avclubvids   Click Here to Email avclubvids     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
Only other interesting bit is since the crews would be breathing an Oxygen Helium mixture, their voices would be all high pitched and squeeky, like deep sea divers breathing a similar HeliOx mixture...
HeliOx is the one main MOL detail that I am going to be getting wrong on purpose, for obvious reasons. Having watched several documentaries featuring working environments that use this mixture, I know that it will be beyond distracting to the layperson, and honestly even those who know it is historically accurate will be distracted by the high pitched voices.

As for the no windows thing, I've seen a few schematics with one to two port holes and some without, I'm choosing to go with the versions that have portholes because the lighting will be vastly improved by having sunlight coming in through a small opening. I might not do any VFX to insert the Earth through those windows, it's more about light than the view.

quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
MOL camera layout
Those schematics would seem to support the side-shooting rather than down-shooting configuration for the MOL — do you know what they actually ended up going with? I ask because there will be a few scenes inside the Gemini B, so I need to know what the view was like from there — "flying" over the Earth or pointing away from it?
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Apollo 17:
If you could get into contact with one of the astronauts planned to go up on it like Bobko, Crippen, and Fullerton they might be able to tell you more from a point of view that is as good as you can get.
I'm reaching out to a few of the MOL astronauts and program administrators, though I am not expecting to find out much from them that our research hasn't already turned up. I'm willing to bet that we have found documents that they would not talk about because it is so unclear to everyone how much of this program is officially declassified and so silence is safest for them. I get it though.

Thank you all so much for all the help so far, keep it coming if you have any more info — I'm loving this! Researching for this project has been deeply rewarding, thanks to people like all of you.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 688
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 07-12-2012 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since this is from a recent release of official documents and first I have seen with the official use of the code word "DORIAN", the program or portions of it may have been officially declassified.

There may be a large release of KH-10/DORIAN documents in the near future, much like the recent release of HEXAGON, GAMBIT and QUILL programs.

tdrss
New Member

Posts: 1
From:
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 06-18-2014 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tdrss   Click Here to Email tdrss     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The NRO just declassified a bunch of KH-10 DORIAN / Manned Orbiting Lab images - now posted on Wikipedia.

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 712
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 06-19-2014 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any further updates on the MOL film? The last one on the AV blog was dated July 19 two years ago.

With the death of Gordon Fullerton, that leaves fewer MOL selectees to interview or correspond with.

avclubvids
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Los Angeles
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 06-19-2014 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for avclubvids   Click Here to Email avclubvids     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, there is definitely an update on the MOL project!

We stopped updating on the blog but we have not stopped working on the research, writing, planning and funding fronts. On a personal note I got married last month so the lead-up to that meant that I had to put this project down for a little while and focus on all of those plans. But we are back from the honeymoon and I'm picking up full steam!

This new FOIA dump has been an incredible event, lots of the assumptions that I was basing the narrative on have been confirmed, and I could not possibly be happier about that! I'm digging through everything now and making sure that nothing is drastically affected by this latest information.

As we (finally) get close to locking down the story and begin moving into production, there will be opportunities to get involved for anyone who is interested, so please let me know if you'd like to be included in the small group of folks that have already been helping us as we've wrangled this monster into an achievable form.

Super thanks to everyone on this forum so far, it's been quite an interesting winding journey so far...

-Andy Cochrane
andy@theavclub.tv

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