Encyclopedia Astronautica
1959.04.01 - Two-man Mercury capsule proposed.


H. Kurt Strass of the Space Task Group (STG) at Langley Field, Virginia described some preliminary ideas of STG planners regarding a follow-on to Mercury: (1) an enlarged Mercury capsule to place two men in orbit for three days; (2) a two-man Mercury capsule and a large cylindrical structure to support a two-week mission. (In its 1960 budget, NASA had requested $2 million to study methods of constructing a manned orbiting laboratory or converting the Mercury spacecraft into a two-man laboratory for extended space missions.)

John W. Crowley, Director of Aeronautical and Space Research, appointed Harry J. Goett of the Ames Research Center to head a Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight to assist Headquarters in long-range planning and basic research on manned space flight. Composed of representatives from the field centers as well as Headquarters, members of the Goett Committee (as it was called) met for the first time on 25-26 May. From the outset, they agreed to concentrate on the long-range objectives of NASA's man-in-space program, including supporting research required, coordinating the research efforts of the various field centers, and recommending specific research projects and vehicle development programs. The most important task facing the Goett Committee was the issue of a flight program to follow Mercury.

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