Encyclopedia Astronautica
1962.10.17 - Potential uses and experiments for a manned space station.


Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director for Systems, Office of Manned Space Flight, solicited suggestions from each of the Headquarters' Program Offices and the various NASA Centers on the potential uses and experiments for a manned space station. Such ideas, Shea explained, would help determine whether adequate justification existed for such a space laboratory, either as a research center in space or as a functional satellite.

Preliminary studies already conducted, he said, placed such spacecraft within the realm of technology feasibility, and, if a decision were made to go ahead with such a project, NASA could conceivably place a station in Earth orbit by about 1967. Shea emphasized, however, that any such decision depended to a great extent on whether adequate justification existed for a space station. In seeking out ideas from within the agency, Shea called for roles, configurations, system designs, and specific scientific and engineering uses and requirements, emphasizing (1) the importance of a space station program to science, technology, or national goals; and (2) the unique characteristics of such a station and why such a program could not be accomplished by using Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, or unmanned spacecraft. Finally, he stated that general objectives currently envisioned for a station were as a precursor to manned planetary missions and for broad functional and scientific roles.

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