Author Topic: MOL discussion  (Read 386269 times)

Offline sdsds

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1040 on: 02/02/2024 06:07 am »
According to MOL Compendium endnote 23, shortly before MOL was initiated McNamara wrote a memo to Zuckert, dated 22 Feb 62, With Subject: AF Manned Mil Space Prog.. Is a copy of that memo available somewhere?

https://www.nro.gov/Portals/65/documents/history/csnr/programs/docs/MOL_Compendium_August_2015.pdf
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Online Blackstar

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1041 on: 03/02/2024 04:23 pm »
Somebody recently told me about this sci-fi story that appeared in the May 1989 issue of Omni magazine. They said that it was the first time they learned about Space Launch Complex 6 (Slick-6). I have not read it yet, but I see Slick-6 mentioned.

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1042 on: 05/13/2024 12:37 am »

Online Blackstar

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1043 on: 05/17/2024 07:25 pm »
I have now read Michael Mackowski's early MOL article. It is pretty comprehensive going up to late 1963, when MOL was approved for development within DoD (presidential authorization did not happen until summer 1965). A few takeaways:

-there were a lot of studies, a lot of them. In fact, it's sorta confusing because there were a bunch of different acronyms used for the various studies, like MOL, MORL, MTSS, SLOMAR, and a few others. That makes it difficult to understand what study was focused on what subject and when. But I'm not sure that this is something that we could ever really sort out, because there was so much overlap. They were figuring things out for themselves.

-the objectives were amorphous, but essentially what you would expect. They wanted to fly astronauts for longer durations and figure out what they could do in space. This drove and was driven by different hardware configurations. For instance, did they want a big internal volume spacecraft or a small one? Mostly they were looking at relatively small ones. If Gemini was the equivalent of being stuck in the front seats of a mini-camper, they were looking at having two astronauts live in the equivalent of a camper for several weeks.

-the coordination with NASA was difficult. NASA already had Gemini underway, so USAF would be borrowing a civilian space vehicle. That's not a big deal (just build more of them). But these studies constantly faced the question of why did USAF have to develop longer-duration spaceflight capabilities and techniques if they were not needed for a military mission? What did the military need to do in space that required astronauts? That question persisted for several years. It was not until 1964 that they finally settled on MOL having a big camera system and the astronauts operating it. In the years prior to that, there just was no good answer.

More in another post.


« Last Edit: 06/12/2024 06:22 pm by Blackstar »

Online Blackstar

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1044 on: 05/17/2024 07:31 pm »
I will look at the article again and probably post a list of all the acronyms for the studies. As Mackowski notes, not all of them have been found or still exist, so in some cases he guessed that a previous study included X, Y or Z based upon how it was cited in a later study.

Something that I hope we can get more info about is Blue Gemini. I wrote about BG years ago, based upon a document that I acquired from an archive. It is possible that there are more documents about that subject that remain to be uncovered. BG was a proposal for USAF to fly about six of their own Gemini missions. They would start as co-pilots with NASA astronauts on essentially joint missions, then transition to two USAF astronauts on USAF Gemini missions, and then finish with perhaps two missions with military experiments onboard, possibly occupying one seat of the spacecraft. But it was a flimsy concept, and there was no clear reason why USAF needed to fly its own astronauts on a Gemini mission that essentially copied a NASA mission. NASA could just share the data. There is not anything new about BG in this article, but I'm not sure that there's anything more to report on it.



Offline leovinus

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1045 on: 05/17/2024 08:04 pm »
-there were a lot of studies, a lot of them. In fact, it's sorta confusing because there were a bunch of different acronyms used for the various studies, like MOL, MORL, MTSS, SLOMAR, and a few others. That makes it difficult to understand what study was focused on what subject and when. But I'm not sure that this is something that we could ever really sort out, because there was so much overlap. They were figuring things out for themselves.
While I agree on the confusing acronyms, the situation is not quite that dire I believe.  My research has found several, declassified but mostly unknown, archival documents on MTSS and SLOMAR which will contribute to understanding the scope, goals and interactions. As you say, they were figuring things out. The MTSS results have already been written up as a draft article but polish and publish is a bit delayed due to other circumstances.

Online Blackstar

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1046 on: 05/18/2024 12:12 am »
Fun with acronyms:

MODS Military Orbital Development Station
SLOMAR Satellite Logistics Operations Maintenance and Repair
MTSS Military Test Space Station
SMART Satellite Maintenance and Repair Techniques
MORL Manned Orbiting Research Lab
MSS Manned Strategic Station
MOSA Manned Orbiting Stations and Alternatives


Online edzieba

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1047 on: 05/27/2024 02:50 pm »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope …


That’s actually changed recently, in that NRO has acknowledged the relation of some of its tech to JWST in response to a media request. I have a note of the article that quotes this somewhere and will dig out.

Found the background to what I was looking for, and now am not sure that they've gone as far as I thought, but judge for yourselves. Email chain is declassified here: https://www.nro.gov/Portals/135/documents/foia/declass/ForAll/041723/F-2022-00167_C05140549.pdf and attached. Grabs are first the reporter's question and then the background and release.

The resulting Grid News article  may be on archive.org if I can be bothered to go look, I may get round to that later-see third grab (and the back story: https://slate.com/business/2024/02/messenger-gawker-vice-media-layoffs-sites-deleted-why.html)

Not 100% sure that the article I had seen was on Grid/Messenger-but not sure if I'll ever know now ...
The DORIAN mirrors being used for MMT is a well known story, but "the segmented mirror technology for the Dorian camera system" seems a bit too specific a wording to refer to technology developed by a third party (U Arizona) only after the cancellation of MOL.
Has anything in the MOL or DORIAN documents declassified thus far even hinted at alternative mirror architectures?

Online LittleBird

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1048 on: 05/27/2024 05:13 pm »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope …


That’s actually changed recently, in that NRO has acknowledged the relation of some of its tech to JWST in response to a media request. I have a note of the article that quotes this somewhere and will dig out.

Found the background to what I was looking for, and now am not sure that they've gone as far as I thought, but judge for yourselves. Email chain is declassified here: https://www.nro.gov/Portals/135/documents/foia/declass/ForAll/041723/F-2022-00167_C05140549.pdf and attached. Grabs are first the reporter's question and then the background and release.

The resulting Grid News article  may be on archive.org if I can be bothered to go look, I may get round to that later-see third grab (and the back story: https://slate.com/business/2024/02/messenger-gawker-vice-media-layoffs-sites-deleted-why.html)

Not 100% sure that the article I had seen was on Grid/Messenger-but not sure if I'll ever know now ...
The DORIAN mirrors being used for MMT is a well known story, but "the segmented mirror technology for the Dorian camera system" seems a bit too specific a wording to refer to technology developed by a third party (U Arizona) only after the cancellation of MOL.
Has anything in the MOL or DORIAN documents declassified thus far even hinted at alternative mirror architectures?

Glad it looks that way to you @edzieba …id wondered if it was just me.

Offline hoku

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1049 on: 05/27/2024 06:11 pm »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope …

That’s actually changed recently, in that NRO has acknowledged the relation of some of its tech to JWST in response to a media request. I have a note of the article that quotes this somewhere and will dig out.

Found the background to what I was looking for, and now am not sure that they've gone as far as I thought, but judge for yourselves. Email chain is declassified here: https://www.nro.gov/Portals/135/documents/foia/declass/ForAll/041723/F-2022-00167_C05140549.pdf and attached. Grabs are first the reporter's question and then the background and release.

The resulting Grid News article  may be on archive.org if I can be bothered to go look, I may get round to that later-see third grab (and the back story: https://slate.com/business/2024/02/messenger-gawker-vice-media-layoffs-sites-deleted-why.html)

Not 100% sure that the article I had seen was on Grid/Messenger-but not sure if I'll ever know now ...
The DORIAN mirrors being used for MMT is a well known story, but "the segmented mirror technology for the Dorian camera system" seems a bit too specific a wording to refer to technology developed by a third party (U Arizona) only after the cancellation of MOL.
Has anything in the MOL or DORIAN documents declassified thus far even hinted at alternative mirror architectures?
It seems that SOMEONE asked Corning for lightweight, hexagon shaped mirror blanks in the 1960s....

https://glasscollection.cmog.org/objects/31966/blank
« Last Edit: 05/27/2024 06:52 pm by hoku »

Online LittleBird

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1050 on: 05/27/2024 08:24 pm »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope …

That’s actually changed recently, in that NRO has acknowledged the relation of some of its tech to JWST in response to a media request. I have a note of the article that quotes this somewhere and will dig out.

Found the background to what I was looking for, and now am not sure that they've gone as far as I thought, but judge for yourselves. Email chain is declassified here: https://www.nro.gov/Portals/135/documents/foia/declass/ForAll/041723/F-2022-00167_C05140549.pdf and attached. Grabs are first the reporter's question and then the background and release.

The resulting Grid News article  may be on archive.org if I can be bothered to go look, I may get round to that later-see third grab (and the back story: https://slate.com/business/2024/02/messenger-gawker-vice-media-layoffs-sites-deleted-why.html)

Not 100% sure that the article I had seen was on Grid/Messenger-but not sure if I'll ever know now ...
The DORIAN mirrors being used for MMT is a well known story, but "the segmented mirror technology for the Dorian camera system" seems a bit too specific a wording to refer to technology developed by a third party (U Arizona) only after the cancellation of MOL.
Has anything in the MOL or DORIAN documents declassified thus far even hinted at alternative mirror architectures?
It seems that SOMEONE asked Corning for lightweight, hexagon shaped mirror blanks in the 1960s....

https://glasscollection.cmog.org/objects/31966/blank


It’s interesting that the Interpretative notes say “ This type of mirror blank was used in an _infra-red_ space-based telescope.” Does that square with anything we know about MOL ?

Offline hoku

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1051 on: 05/27/2024 08:52 pm »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope …

That’s actually changed recently, in that NRO has acknowledged the relation of some of its tech to JWST in response to a media request. I have a note of the article that quotes this somewhere and will dig out.

Found the background to what I was looking for, and now am not sure that they've gone as far as I thought, but judge for yourselves. Email chain is declassified here: https://www.nro.gov/Portals/135/documents/foia/declass/ForAll/041723/F-2022-00167_C05140549.pdf and attached. Grabs are first the reporter's question and then the background and release.

The resulting Grid News article  may be on archive.org if I can be bothered to go look, I may get round to that later-see third grab (and the back story: https://slate.com/business/2024/02/messenger-gawker-vice-media-layoffs-sites-deleted-why.html)

Not 100% sure that the article I had seen was on Grid/Messenger-but not sure if I'll ever know now ...
The DORIAN mirrors being used for MMT is a well known story, but "the segmented mirror technology for the Dorian camera system" seems a bit too specific a wording to refer to technology developed by a third party (U Arizona) only after the cancellation of MOL.
Has anything in the MOL or DORIAN documents declassified thus far even hinted at alternative mirror architectures?
It seems that SOMEONE asked Corning for lightweight, hexagon shaped mirror blanks in the 1960s....

https://glasscollection.cmog.org/objects/31966/blank


It’s interesting that the Interpretative notes say “ This type of mirror blank was used in an _infra-red_ space-based telescope.” Does that square with anything we know about MOL ?
I seem to recall that there were plans to use infrared sensitive films on MOL for low light level situations. HALO/Mini-HALO (High Altitude Large Optics) would also have required a segmented mirror, but this was a mid-1970s to early 1980s project. The glass museum quotes an "about 1960-1969" timeframe for this mirror blank, thus it seems to pre-date HALO.

Online edzieba

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1052 on: 05/28/2024 09:43 am »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope …

That’s actually changed recently, in that NRO has acknowledged the relation of some of its tech to JWST in response to a media request. I have a note of the article that quotes this somewhere and will dig out.

Found the background to what I was looking for, and now am not sure that they've gone as far as I thought, but judge for yourselves. Email chain is declassified here: https://www.nro.gov/Portals/135/documents/foia/declass/ForAll/041723/F-2022-00167_C05140549.pdf and attached. Grabs are first the reporter's question and then the background and release.

The resulting Grid News article  may be on archive.org if I can be bothered to go look, I may get round to that later-see third grab (and the back story: https://slate.com/business/2024/02/messenger-gawker-vice-media-layoffs-sites-deleted-why.html)

Not 100% sure that the article I had seen was on Grid/Messenger-but not sure if I'll ever know now ...
The DORIAN mirrors being used for MMT is a well known story, but "the segmented mirror technology for the Dorian camera system" seems a bit too specific a wording to refer to technology developed by a third party (U Arizona) only after the cancellation of MOL.
Has anything in the MOL or DORIAN documents declassified thus far even hinted at alternative mirror architectures?
It seems that SOMEONE asked Corning for lightweight, hexagon shaped mirror blanks in the 1960s....

https://glasscollection.cmog.org/objects/31966/blank
That may 'just' be a blank for a larger monolithic mirror, assembled using Corning's 'hex seal' process (mate and fuse multiple hexagonal blanks into a single large diameter circular blank). That doesn't shed any light on what this 1960s space-based infra-red telescope with a large mirror (monolithic or segmented) was, though.
« Last Edit: 05/28/2024 09:47 am by edzieba »

Online LittleBird

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1053 on: 05/28/2024 04:29 pm »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope …

That’s actually changed recently, in that NRO has acknowledged the relation of some of its tech to JWST in response to a media request. I have a note of the article that quotes this somewhere and will dig out.

Found the background to what I was looking for, and now am not sure that they've gone as far as I thought, but judge for yourselves. Email chain is declassified here: https://www.nro.gov/Portals/135/documents/foia/declass/ForAll/041723/F-2022-00167_C05140549.pdf and attached. Grabs are first the reporter's question and then the background and release.

The resulting Grid News article  may be on archive.org if I can be bothered to go look, I may get round to that later-see third grab (and the back story: https://slate.com/business/2024/02/messenger-gawker-vice-media-layoffs-sites-deleted-why.html)

Not 100% sure that the article I had seen was on Grid/Messenger-but not sure if I'll ever know now ...
The DORIAN mirrors being used for MMT is a well known story, but "the segmented mirror technology for the Dorian camera system" seems a bit too specific a wording to refer to technology developed by a third party (U Arizona) only after the cancellation of MOL.
Has anything in the MOL or DORIAN documents declassified thus far even hinted at alternative mirror architectures?
It seems that SOMEONE asked Corning for lightweight, hexagon shaped mirror blanks in the 1960s....

https://glasscollection.cmog.org/objects/31966/blank
That may 'just' be a blank for a larger monolithic mirror, assembled using Corning's 'hex seal' process (mate and fuse multiple hexagonal blanks into a single large diameter circular blank). That doesn't shed any light on what this 1960s space-based infra-red telescope with a large mirror (monolithic or segmented) was, though.

If it was destined for MOL one might imagine it as being piggy backed on the side of the main KH-10 camera tube, rather like the yellow gimballed tube in the artist's impression of a civilian variant whose misuse  so annoys Blackstar  ;-)-grab below. [Edit: Or are you suggesting a replacement for the KH-10 main mirror, @hoku ? ]

If not MOL, there are very few obvious candidates for such an  IR mirror. IIRC things like TRW's winning design for 949/DSP don't have large mirrors (?); we know next to nothing, apart from a couple of paras in Cargill Hall's Midas history, about the rival Lockheed GEO design (no pictures afaik); and we know nothing at all about JUMPSEAT's telescope apart from whatever aspects  may have survived into  SBIRS (which might instead have been based on a design carried on SDS, and may have been different). My money would actually be on something like R&D for a space surveillance mission-this had got more traction by late 70s when a satellite of that general type was in the DoD Shuttle mission model (see "Spies and Shuttles" book).
« Last Edit: 05/29/2024 05:37 am by LittleBird »

Online Blackstar

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1054 on: 06/24/2024 06:16 pm »
Anatoly Zak pointed out that Almaz (Soviet counterpart to MOL) fired its cannon 50 years ago today:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a18187/here-is-the-soviet-unions-secret-space-cannon/


Offline Thorny

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1055 on: 06/25/2024 05:30 pm »
Anatoly Zak pointed out that Almaz (Soviet counterpart to MOL) fired its cannon 50 years ago today:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a18187/here-is-the-soviet-unions-secret-space-cannon/



Interesting article, but it says the cannon was fired January 24, not June 24.

Online Blackstar

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Re: MOL discussion
« Reply #1056 on: 06/25/2024 07:03 pm »
Anatoly Zak pointed out that Almaz (Soviet counterpart to MOL) fired its cannon 50 years ago today:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a18187/here-is-the-soviet-unions-secret-space-cannon/



Interesting article, but it says the cannon was fired January 24, not June 24.

Well, then, never mind...

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