1962 – Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible. Not the name the vehicle was called in the original Sperry Gyroscope Company advertisement when it appeared in the February, 1962 issue of Scientific American Magazine.
The shape is somewhat reminiscient of Wernher von Braun's "Bottle Suit", with manourvering engines top and bottom, but only one pair of manipulator arms.
The image is more famous in being copied by the Soviet Union and re-issed by the TASS agency in 1969 as if it were their own space station development. The first space station ever was Salyut 1, which was launched by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971. Like all the early space stations, it was "monolithic", intended to be constructed and launched in one piece, and then manned by a crew later. The wheel shape had been dropped by all by this time.
10/11/69-MOSCOW: The Soviet Union hurled a "flying machine shop" carrying two cosmonauts into earth orbit 10/11. Reliable sources said it would be followed soon by one or two more manned craft and that crews would eperiment in the construction of an orbital space station. This Soviet sketch shows a future Soviet space station which will be used to assemble and launch interplanetary ships. The sketch shows portion of space station (BTM), a spaceship under construction (UR) and a one-man construction craft (UL). TASS PHOTO
Source: Lodi News-Sentinel, October 25, 1969.
Source: Life Magazine, Nov 14, 1969.
Source: February, 1962 issue of Scientific American Magazine.
Source: New York Times, 13 Oct 1969.
See other early Space Teleoperators here.
See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.