Encyclopedia Astronautica
1961.05.18 - Apollo A

Space Task Group Director Robert R. Gilruth informed Ames Research Center that current planning for Apollo 'A' called for an adapter between the Saturn second stage and the Apollo spacecraft to include, as an integral part, a section to be used as an orbiting laboratory. Preliminary in-house configuration designs indicated this laboratory would be a cylindrical section about 3.9 m in diameter and 2.4 m in height.

The laboratory would provide the environment and facilities to conduct scientific experiments related to manned operation of spacecraft. Gilruth requested that Ames forward to STG descriptions of scientific experiments believed to be important to the development of manned space flights, together with a list of necessary support equipment requirements. In response to the request from the STG, ARC Director Smith J. DeFrance suggested a series of experiments that might be conducted from an Earth-orbiting laboratory: astronomical observations; monitoring the Sun's activity; testing man's ability to work outside the vehicle; zero-g testing; and micrometeoroid impact study. DeFrance noted that all of these experiments could be performed in the lunar mission module part of the Apollo space vehicle with little or no design modification.

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