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Manned Orbital Laboratory


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(MOL)

A joint NASA and US Air Force programme in the 1960s that failed to meet its objectives. The programme was initiated to test the long-term residence of astronauts in space and to develop Earth observation, including military surveillance (of the USSR in particular). The MOL was to use a modified Gemini capsule and a cylindrical module to house a laboratory measuring 12.5 m in length. A polar orbit was planned for five flights of 30 days each, with the first given a scheduled launch date of 1968 with a crew that would conduct 25 experiments. However, the programme was hindered by a lack of funds during the protracted Vietnam War. The only MOL flight was a successful test of the modified Gemini capsule in November 1966.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics — Warfare and Defence.


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