Manned Orbiting Station (1963)

In January of 1963, Robert McNamara canceled the USAF Blue Gemini studies as he wanted no distractions for the X-20 program. As the year progressed, the Dyna-Soar program continued to slip in schedule and face rising costs. This apparently triggered the DOD to reconsider their whole plan, so they re-evaluated the use of Gemini as the basis for military space systems. The results were documented in a report titled Manned Orbiting Stations and Alternatives, dated Oct. 10, 1963.   

NASA image

The report covers a range of missions, including small space stations, maneuverability and rendezvous tests, human factors and biological experiments, and evaluation of inspection and reconnaissance capabilities. The reconnaissance variants look like very early MOL concepts and the report includes two versions of a satellite inspector Gemini. By the end of 1963 McNamara had digested these options and in December, he cancelled X-20 and replaced it with the MOL program.