While official secrecy still shrouds the Soviet Union's new space station Salyut -- now in its fourth day of earth orbit -- the Americans have released animated film of a projected space laboratory.
While official secrecy still shrouds the Soviet Union's new space station Salyut -- now in its fourth day of earth orbit -- the Americans have released animated film of a projected space laboratory. Both the U.S. Air Force and NASA are studying the feasibility of space stations. But the Soviet lead in this field looks thoroughly safe -- the Air Force estimates it will be three years before such a station can be launched, while NASA's study is based on a launch in seven years time.
There is a National Broadcasting Company commentary with this film. The written commentary that follows is virtually a transcript, but with a somewhat more general approach.
SYNOPSIS: While official secrecy still surrounds the Soviet Union's latest orbiting space station, the Americans have released this animated film of a similar venture -- a planned space laboratory. This one is designed for earth surveys. It would be serviced by a space shuttle, would weigh ten tons and measure some forty feet in length by fourteen feet in diameter. Monoeuvrability would be controlled by an automatic docking laser radar system.
Once the station has been manoeuvred into position, the crew can prepare instruments in the domed end of the craft for experiments. When everything is ready, the domed end is depressurised and opened. Special sensors keep a check on the earth's atmosphere and keep watch on its surface. These sensors can undertake invaluable agricultural surveys, even down to predicting crop disease.
Similar stations could conduct experiments in astronomy, communications, navigation and other advanced technologies. But the Russian lead in this field won't be challenged for several years. It will be at least three years before one of these American station is launched.