von Braun space station
A 250-foot wide, circular, inflated, reinforced nylon space
station conceived in the early 1950s by Wernher von
Braun to function as a navigational aid, meteorological station, military
platform, and way station for space exploration. Orbiting 1,075 miles above
the Earth, the wheel-shaped station would be rotate to create artificial
gravity so that its crew would not suffer the effects of prolonged weightlessness.
Von Braun and his team favored building a permanently occupied Earth orbiting
space station from which to stage a lunar exploration program. But in the
1960s NASA opted for the Apollo Project,
which called for astronauts to transfer to a landing vehicle after achieving
lunar orbit, bypassing the construction of von Braun's wheel.
|Credit: Courtesy NASA/MSFC Historical