More on MOL

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Sun Oct 29 2000 - 15:35:52 MST

This just in:
Chatted with pops about his MOL memories. He was working on the camera
system (man operated, not remote) from '66 to '69 when the program was
cancelled. A co-worker of his, who is godfather to my sister, later told
him that he had been assigned to work on building seven of the cameras
from '70 to '72, which included a human controlled sighting mask like you
see on sub periscopes (which is after MOL was allegedly cancelled in '69).
I had thought that this might have been one of the four MOL 'experiments'
that were included on the Skylab vehicle in the mid 70's. That would have
been a plausible explaination for that continued work. After the 69
cancellation, my dad had gotten reassigned to go back to build CORONA
cameras (which he said was kinda like getting transferred from building
Lamborghinis to building model T's). This would have closed up all this
activity except for another of my Dad's childhood buddies who was an SP at
Vandenberg from 67-70, and said that they launched a MOL into a polar
orbit (based on the direction of the launch trajectory, and based on the
fact that that is mostly what Vandenberg is used for anyways). The
November '66 launch was from Canaveral into an orbit with only a 30 degree
angle of inclination, which was really only good for covering southern
parts of the USSR, so we do have an unaccounted for MOL launch (plus a few
others I heard about from other SPs who were stationed there in the late
70's). I have not been able to track down the second MOL mock-up that was
built by Douglas in 1967 (after the Gemini 12 and Gemini B launches in Nov
of the previous year), which you would think would be displayed in some
museum somewhere. Maybe it will turn up anyhow, maybe its sitting off in a
corner of the Vandenberg air park. If anyone on the list lives in the area
of Vandenberg, I'd appreciate it if you'd swing through there on a tour
and see if its sitting on a display stand somewhere. The second MOL mockup
may have gotten launched as well...
Ah, the info you can dig up in exchange for an afternoon of installing
bathroom lighting fixtures...


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