Encyclopedia Astronautica
1965.08.20 - NASA MSFC began serious investigation of the concept of an S-IVB Orbital Workshop (OWS).


As part of MSFC's activities related to the AES program, designers at the Center began serious investigation of the concept of an S-IVB Orbital Workshop (OWS). This concept, which involved 'in- orbit' conversion of a spent S-IVB stage to a shelter suitable for extended stay and utilization by man, showed great potential for experiment work during the Earth-orbital phase of the AES program. Accordingly, MSFC officials planned a four-month conceptual design effort, to begin immediately, with help and participation from both MSC and the S-IVB stage builder, Douglas Aircraft Company.

On 25 August, program planners met to initiate the OWS conceptual design study. Participants reviewed previous NASA and industry studies pertaining to rocket stage laboratory ideas (essentially those as presented to the Manned Space Flight Management Council on 20 July 1965). These studies formed the point of departure for the four-month OWS study. Those present agreed that serious consideration must be given to simplified versions of the Workshop to achieve early launch dates and to hold down program costs. A technical working group was created to oversee the conceptual design study, with J. H. Laue as chairman. Laue divided areas of responsibility among the group members and planned to hold biweekly meetings for the duration of the study.

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