1960 – SLOMAR Space Tug – The Martin Company (American)
Above: The 2-man Space Tug
Extra Images sourced from here.
Cancelled Projects: SLOMAR
By Jos Heyman
(with some help from the correspondents of the Secretprojects forum)
In 1959 the US Air Force started the Space Logistics, Operations, Maintenance and Rescue (SLOMAR) study to generate preliminary designs of crewed space vehicles that could support manned military space stations.
SLOMAR was one of ten studies that were part of the USAF’s ‘Space Development Planning Study’ that also included studies covering, amongst others, satellite interception, global surveillance, strategic orbital systems (bombardment satellites), lunar operations, and recoverable orbital launch systems.
In November 1959 a Request for Proposals was issued and ten contractors responded. Of these only Lockheed, General Dynamics, Douglas, Martin and Norair (Northrop) received further funding in June 1960 to the sum of $ 120,000 each. This was to cover studies up to June 1961. It was soon obvious to the contractors that the funding was insufficient to study all areas concerned and each contractor emphasized some aspects only.
Martin suggested a lifting body vehicle with a span of 6.65 m and length of 9.40 m with room for a crew of five.
In spite of not receiving funding, McDonnell suggested its model 15 (?) whereas Bell studies its program 7069, whereas it has been suggested that North American also conducted privately funded SLOMAR studies.
Absent from this all was Boeing but that company was already involved in the development of the X-20 Dyna Soar spacecraft.
The contractors’ submission were evaluated and led to the conclusion that it was possible to have an operational system in use by 1968 for support to orbits up to 925 km and that more than one satellite at a time had to be supported during a mission to make the system cost effective (except for the space station). Furthermore it was clear that guidance of the vehicle was to be self contained and that the total capacity of the vehicles, crew plus passenger, was to be six.
These conclusions were passed on to the Lunar Expedition Project (LUNEX), a secret USAF proposal to put a man on the Moon by 1967 and that would employ a lifting body re-entry vehicle for a crew of three. These efforts were suspended when John Kennedy ordered NASA in May 1961 to get a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.
Above SLOMAR text sourced from here.
See other early Teleoperators here.
See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.