Author Topic: Manned Orbiting Laboratory questions... don't we all have them? ;)  (Read 4953 times)

Offline Avclubvids

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So, like pretty much everyone on every space related forum, I've got some questions about the MOL.  But unlike most people, I am planning on building one, or at least something that can believably pass for one.

Some of you may know me, I'm Andy "Space is Boring" Cochrane, a filmmaker and self-realized space nerd from Los Angeles.  I've decided that my next project is going to be an historical fiction, a short film that imagines what might have happened if the MOL program were not cancelled.

I've been reaching out to various people and organizations to get as much info as I can on the program- most specifically on the planned interior of the MOL. I'd love to have your guys' input on what it might have looked like, what kinds of systems they would have had on board, good resources for look-a-like equipment, etc. etc.

Rather than re-create the stream of info I've been communicating so far, I'd ask that anyone with an interest in this project please check it out, and get in touch with me if you have any info or want to get involved:

http://blog.theavclub.tv/post/tag/MOL

Offline neilh

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Sounds like a neat project, and it's heartening to see your desire for technical accuracy.

Btw, are you this Andy Cochrane? http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1649214/
Someone is wrong on the Internet.
http://xkcd.com/386/

Offline Avclubvids

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Yup, that's me!

Offline simonbp

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Well first of all, I'd check out the publicly available documents on MORL (Manned Orbiting Research Laboratory), which was supposed to be the NASA version of MOL. Once MOL was killed, it eventually evolved into Skylab.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?N=0&Ntk=All&Ntt=%22manned%20orbital%20laboratory%22&Ntx=mode%20matchall

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?Ntx=mode%20matchallpartial%20&Ntk=All&N=4294129243&Ntt=morl

Speaking of which, I would highly recommend visiting the Skylab 1-g trainer in the museum in Houston. You can walk right through it, and it really gives you the feel of being in an early-1970s space station.

Also IIRC, the main changes to Gemini for the basic MOL was the addition of the heatshield hatch and a larger set of solid retrorockets. The USSRC museum in Huntsville has a Gemini B retro adapter (only survivor that I know of), though I think it's in storage.

Offline Avclubvids

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I had been ignoring the MORL due to the drastic design changes they made (Double MOL, multiple Gemini docks, etc.) but I'm diving in to those documents now to see if there is any useful insight to what a USAF MOL would have looked like.  Thank you so much for that idea and those links are great.

We've been using Skylab and Sealab as loose references for the production design team, so it's good to hear that those instincts are on target.

Has anyone found any good pictures of interior mockups or reliable schematics?  There seem to have been a lot of variations and ideas for how the MOL would be laid out inside, which makes it hard to figure out what is realistic and what is an abandoned idea.

Thanks for the ideas so far!

Offline kevin-rf

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I assume you are aware that the Gemini 2 capsule used for the MOL test launch is on display at the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Offline Avclubvids

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Yes, we've got lots and lots of reference images of Gemini 2, even some video from a DVD put out by Spacecraft Films that shows some excellent details of a Gemin B, I assume Gemini 2 pre-flight.  That DVD has footage shot inside the one dummy MOL that was flown in 1966, but it was really just an empty tube, no birdcage etc.  There's also some very good footage of the zero-g tunnel/hatch training that you see briefly in the Astro Spies doc from NOVA.  Anyone who has not seen this DVD, it's great:

http://02e5a89.netsolstores.com/maninspaceusairforcemannedspaceprojects.aspx

Online Chris Bergin

Welcome to the site's forum, Andy. You've been involved in some bloody good movies!

Hope we can help here! ;D
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Offline Avclubvids

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Thanks guys!

I've been working in commercials the past few years, so I miss Feature work, but hopefully this project will fully scratch that itch :)

I'll take any and all advice anyone has to offer, I just want to make something that captures the "big thinking" of the 60's, and the sense of adventure (and danger) that got all of us so excited in space in the first place.

If Ron howard taught the world anything with "Apollo 13" it's that authenticity can make a seriously riveting film, so that's our goal.
« Last Edit: 07/12/2012 02:48 am by Avclubvids »

Offline neilh

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Someone is wrong on the Internet.
http://xkcd.com/386/

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