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Modularized Space Station

Modular Station 1972

Modular Station 1972
MSFC Modular Station 1972
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos

American manned space station. Study 1972. Space station design of 1972 using modules sized for transport in the Space Shuttle payload bay. could be carried inside the Shuttle orbiter payload bay.

Status: Study 1972. Gross mass: 200,000 kg (440,000 lb). Span: 4.60 m (15.00 ft).

NASA hoped to launch such a space station in 1978, but the budget crunch forced the project to be delayed until it emerged again as the bloated International Space Station in the 1990's.

In view of the suspension of Saturn V production, alternative launch approaches and station configurations were investigated by NASA and its contractors in the 1970-1972 period. These included the combination of an expendable upper stage like the Saturn S-II or S-IVB mounted on the then-planned Shuttle recoverable booster to retain the potential to orbit monolithic core space stations. After the shuttle go-ahead Congress and President Nixon's Office of Management and Budget indicated they were prepared to pay for only one project at a time. Studies then moved to station concepts where the core was modularized so that it could be carried inside the Shuttle orbiter payload bay. These 4.5-meter diameter modules would then be assembled into a cluster in orbit with the same functional capability as the monolithic station concepts. In these configurations, it proved advantageous to use floors arranged parallel rather than perpendicular to the cylinder axis. The North American Rockwell and McDonnell-Douglas space station study contracts were extended until January 1972 to cover modular space station work. NASA was still hoping to launch a smaller space station in 1978, but the budget crunch soon forced the agency postpone its space station plans to the 1980s. When all Saturn V production capability was irrevocably lost in the early 1970's, these studies formed the basis of what would later be the International Space Station.

Crew Size: 12. Electric System: 25.00 average kW.



Family: Space station, Space station orbit, USA - Space Stations. People: McDonnell. Country: USA. Launch Vehicles: Space Shuttle. Agency: NASA, North American. Bibliography: 481.
Photo Gallery

Modular Station 1971Modular Station 1971
Rockwell Modular Station 1971
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos


Modular Station 1971Modular Station 1971
Modularised Space Station
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos


Modular Station 1971Modular Station 1971
McDonnell Douglas Modular Station 1971
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos


1969 Modular Station1969 Modular Station
Modularised Space Station
Credit: NASA



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