From: Jay Nelson <jnelson.nul> Date: sat, 09 oct 2010 10:40:30 -0600 Archived: Sat, 09 Oct 2010 18:27:35 -0400 Subject: An Even More Secret Space Program? Listers Recently, the PBS affiliate in my area has been rebroadcasting NOVA's "Astrospies" episode repeatedly. I haven't minded. It's a fascinating story about secret manned orbiting spy satellites - the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory v. the Russian ALMAZ. But after watching it the third or fourth time, it dawned on me that the show might contain clues in plain sight to an even _more_ clandestine space program than that of the space spooks. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/astrospies/ The show included a story about Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., a black military astronaut and one of the best pilots in the AF, who was killed in a crash while landing. He was in the back seat of an F-104, teaching steep glide Shuttle approach runs at the Cape to a rookie who survived. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Lawrence_Jr The thing is, this was in late _1967_, almost a year _before_ the very first Space Shuttle design studies were even initiated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_design_process And the accident occurred almost exactly 4 years _after_ the Dyna-Soar space plane had been canceled. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyna-Soar Since the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program was to use a modified Gemini capsule anyway, the tragedy makes no sense to me. Why was their top dude teaching a newbie how to do a dangerous maneuver that had _no_ place in the program? (According to Wikipedia, Dyna-Soar might have gotten built (but how much later?) as something called Blackstar... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstar_%28spaceplane%29 In any case, Dyna-Soar - or any other spacecraft - could _not_ have docked with the MOL. (I know; I made and played with plastic models of both back in the day... ;-> ) MOL was to be a disposable, one-time-use-only space station, built on the not- unreasonable assumption that having a man looking at things on the fly would allow them to see interesting things automated cameras wouldn't spot. However, everything would be shot on film which would have to be returned to Earth with them undeveloped at the end of the mission. And meanwhile, the huge spy camera and the rest would be simply abandoned to burn up in the atmosphere. Since they had 14 astronauts in the program, it seems likely they were probably planning on doing it 6 times or so, too. No wonder it cost so much - LBJ quoted a figure of $1.5B, Richard Truly, a MOL astronaut who later became NASA chief, said $3B, and he should know - but others complained that the budget was cut every year until Nixon axed the whole thing - so the real cost must have been ginormous. Maybe some great intelligence could have come of MOL, but nothing even remotely timely and with such a huge waste of material. If that was indeed all there was to the mission, MOL was indeed a huge boondoggle. If it also was intended for, say, long-term observation of other things - spotting saucer bases, stuff in orbit, who knows? At least the Russians built a reusable station (armed with a freakin' _cannon_ of all things), and though they also used film (developed in orbit with all lights off), they could scan it with a video camera and get results down to Moscow in an hour or so. In any event much of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program is still classified. Astronaut Al Crews said they were "to take pictures and blah, blah, blah, blah". So what other activities were planned that never were accomplished which _still_ require secrecy after all this time? I can't shake the feeling that something funny's been going on... Keep looking up, Jay Nelson Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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