|astronautix.com||Evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space.|
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Fight George E. Mueller informed Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of the Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Office's evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space. The proposal was feasible, Mueller advised, but did not seem a desirable mission for inclusion in the AAP.
Lockheed's proposal estimated a 1800-kg payload to Mars, a performance capability not sufficient to justify the proposal solely on a mission basis. (In contrast, the Saturn IB Centaur offered a 4500-kg capability.) The other aspect of Lockheed's proposal concerned the development of techniques for launching vehicles from orbit. In this area, the chief contributions anticipated from AAP were assembly of large vehicles in orbit, fuel transfer, and preparation for orbital launch. Final checkout, which Lockheed proposed should be done by the astronauts, Mueller said could be accomplished more effectively by ground engineering groups through telemetry displays. Therefore, he recommended to Seamans that the proposal not be considered for inclusion in Saturn/AAP.