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  #41  
Old 25 June 2018, 04:20 PM
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Wild-arsed guess, but I presume they didn't use the "docking" end because a) it required a second spacecraft to be launched, and/or b) because docking was still a new concept that was only attempted for the first time with the NASA Gemini program.

MOL was self-contained, with everything needed in one vehicle. Given the problems NASA had with the Agena target vehicles, and what man-rated boosters were available at the time, the Air Force may have wanted to keep things as simple as possible.

~Psihala
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  #42  
Old 25 June 2018, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meka View Post
The MOL article includes a picture of the modified heat shield:
Am I the only one who thinks that heat shield looks like the Death Star?
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  #43  
Old 25 June 2018, 04:51 PM
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Psihala, could you explain that a bit more? I don't understand either point. Whether the docking part of the Gemini was the nose or the heat shield tunnel, it would dock directly to the MOL, no second ship would be required. (Presumably the MOL would be designed with a compatible docking port either way.) And why would the simplicity of the MOL have anything to do with it? No matter how simple, they would still need a way to transfer personnel, equipment and supplies.
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  #44  
Old 25 June 2018, 05:30 PM
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I'll try.

If I'm understanding the drawings of MOL correctly, it consisted of the capsule, what was a version of the adapter section in the NASA program, and what looks like a modified booster. From what I can tell from the drawings, the hatch lead to a "tube" within the adapter section. What I can't see from the drawing is if that tube goes anywhere else on the other end. I presume it simply passed through the adapter to the section below it.

If so, then the crew needed only go between the capsule and the adapter to get to the labratory. No other craft is needed to dock with--what is needed is carried with them. When the mission is over, the adapter and lower section is jettisoned just as it was in the NASA program, and the capsule returns to earth.

If there's another component of MOL that isn't represented in the drawing that shows up in BrianB's third link, then I'd need to study the program a bit more to understand the larger picture.

Right now, it doesn't appear to me that MOL was a separate craft that GeminiB was meant to rendezvous with. It was two parts already connected together. So I'm not sure what transfer of supplies is needed. I'm not making any assumption the thing was meant to be used more than once.

~Psihala

Last edited by Psihala; 25 June 2018 at 05:38 PM.
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  #45  
Old 25 June 2018, 05:37 PM
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GenYus234: The MOL wasn't a space station. The Gemini B and MOL were to be launched together as a single one-time-use spacecraft, and after the (possibly 40 day long) mission the MOL would be discarded while the Gemini B returned. The opening in the heat shield was to get from the Gemini cockpit into the lab and back again. No docking procedure required. It was simplicity of design and function with almost off-the-shelf parts.
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  #46  
Old 25 June 2018, 05:49 PM
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I was going by this Popular Science* article that said the MOL could remain in orbit for another crew after the Gemini capsule departed. The second crew would need to dock in order to transfer over and they would presumably carry fresh supplies and/or equipment.

* I know.
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  #47  
Old 25 June 2018, 06:00 PM
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Thanks. I'll give it a read anyway.

~Psihala
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  #48  
Old 25 June 2018, 06:00 PM
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Perhaps semi-reusability was part of the original plan, but it got scrapped when they started to consider the crew transfer issues. Certainly once they settled on the hatch in the heat shield, docking was not on the table. Even docking when you could see where you were going was considered tricky in those days. Backing into the MOL would have been out of the question. (I suppose you could put a WINDOW in the heat shield, but I doubt that would be a good idea.)
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  #49  
Old 25 June 2018, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psihala View Post

If there's another component of MOL that isn't represented in the drawing that shows up in BrianB's third link, then I'd need to study the program a bit more to understand the larger picture.


~Psihala
Be careful what ye wish for, Psihala... http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/MOL.html

~Self
(*I mean, it's only 20,000+ pages...!)
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  #50  
Old 25 June 2018, 07:53 PM
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Well, I stand corrected. Seems they were thinking some resupply even with the final Gemini B configuration. Here's a pic from the Wikipedia article showing some variations: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped.../Dorian_25.jpg
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  #51  
Old 25 June 2018, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
I was going by this Popular Science* article that said the MOL could remain in orbit for another crew after the Gemini capsule departed. (snip)

* I know.
Wait - you found an issue of Popular Science that wasn't devoted to cars?
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  #52  
Old 25 June 2018, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
If Trump does this, I assume he will do it by creating a whole new branch rather than splitting off the parts of the Air Force that already do space. That would be the least optimal way as it would create yet another realm of rivalry.
Saying this at greater length:

Space Farce: A Terrible Solution to a Real Problem


Quote:
The special thing about satellites and the organizations that control or operate them (Air Force Space Command, the NRO, and other smaller outfits) is that they are, by nature, subordinate to other branches of the armed forces—to wars that are fought not in outer space but on Earth or in the atmosphere. Space assets service air, naval, and ground forces by providing them with intelligence, communications, and guidance for missiles and smart bombs. Placing these vital assets under the command of a four-star general in a separate service—and imbuing its officers and enlisted personnel with the élan of an elite force that doesn’t answer to the other services of the armed forces and that, in fact, competes with them for resources—would run counter to the nation’s needs.
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  #53  
Old 25 June 2018, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
not until the 1970s did the Air Force pay much attention to missions that involved supporting Army troops and Marines on the ground.
Which is why, 70 years after the creation of a military service dedicated to aircraft, the US Army and Marines still have their own branch dedicated to aircraft. (So do the Navy, but for different reasons.)
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  #54  
Old 26 June 2018, 02:35 AM
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Yeah, I kind of thought that myself. Although I don't think the Army has fixed-wing fighters or bombers? I might be wrong. They do of course have attack helicopters. And the Marines have always had their own ground-attack aircraft.
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  #55  
Old 26 June 2018, 03:26 AM
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The Army is, as far as I know, out of the fixed-wing combat aircraft business and has been for decades.
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  #56  
Old 26 June 2018, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
The Army is, as far as I know, out of the fixed-wing combat aircraft business and has been for decades.
No combat aircraft, but they do have surveillance/reconnaissance aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechc...C-12_Guardrail
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  #57  
Old 26 June 2018, 04:42 AM
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That's why I specified combat aircraft.
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  #58  
Old 26 June 2018, 03:15 PM
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I've heard persistent rumors that any time the Air Force talks about retiring the A-10, the Army immediately offers to take them off their hands, at which point the Air Force backs down. Nothing I've ever been able to verify though.
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  #59  
Old 26 June 2018, 03:39 PM
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I think that was more a publicity stunt than any real offer.

The U.S. Army has no interest in taking over the Air Force’s fleet of A-10 attack planes...

The Air Force just recently put out a RFP for 112 pairs of replacement wings for the A-10, so hopefully that means it will continue to be in front-line service.
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  #60  
Old 26 June 2018, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
Even docking when you could see where you were going was considered tricky in those days.
Actually, the astronauts all believed docking would be a cinch, and they turned out to be more or less right. (For guys for whom carrier landings and aerial refueling was routine, that doesn't seem surprising.)

Rendezvous. on the other hand....actually finding and matching orbits with the target, that is another story. A lot of it is counter-intuitive to an aircraft pilot. (If you want to catch up with something "ahead" of you in orbit, you generally thrust away from it, to drop into a lower -- and therefore faster -- orbit -- then again once you're ahead of it, to raise your orbit and go slower....and if your alignment is a little off...oooh boy. See Gemini 10.)

But once you're there, docking? No problem. Well, provided there are no mechanical issues, naturally.
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