John Sisson's Dreams of Space is a website directed to vintage non-fiction children's books and a deep-dive into space travel, with the dates ranging from the 1950s to the 1970s, and it is filled with stuff that will most definitely blow your mind.
Stating that the August is "Space Station month", he has started sharing grabs from books that speculated what space stations might look like in the future.
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"Space Stations", written by Erik Bergaust in 1962, is one of the books in question.
In the book's acknowledgments, Bergaust wrote "Our Space Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, now has some serious plans for space platforms of different designs. ... This book is a roundup of all current plans for space stations. It is based on official information provided by the Space Agency and by industry."
"The illustrations do not depict science fiction ideas; all artwork in the book was submitted by the companies currently working on our various space projects. It is based on designs by their own engineers and scientists."
Let's take a journey through the designs of the past to see how they fare up against today's space projects.
1. Communications Station
According to Bergaust, the picture communications satellite would be placed in orbit 22,000 miles above the Earth to transmit radio, television, and international telephone calls.
2. Solar Mirrors
Another bright idea was to have huge solar mirrors to fuel unmanned space stations.
3. Manned Space Laboratory
This was NASA's official manned space station design, designed for a crew of four or five people. It was stated that the first operational flight to Saturn was scheduled for 1964.
4. The Atlas Missile
This was the Atlas missile which was built by Convair for the Air Force. While NASA favored the Saturn booster, this one could be used by the crew to "put together the parts that eventually will become their future home in the cosmos."
5. Two-man Space Station
Norair's illustration showed the station sent to orbit in three sections: the space station on the lower left, a life support system to supply two astronauts for weeks, and a maneuverable satellite capsule on the upper right.
6. Launching Platforms for expeditions to other planets
This is a concept that we hear often here in 2020: using launching platforms to other planets. The illustration by the design engineer W. C. House shows a space ship headed for Mars after launching off from the station.
7. Elongated Space Station
This space station with its unique shape is described to be capable of transfer between planets.
8. Conventional-powered Space Station
Another design by Norair is stated to be a conventional-powered space station that uses solar cell outriggers.
9. Space Laboratories
Aimed to used for astronomy, solar and ionosphere studies, this five-man space laboratory was designed by Rocketdyne.
This illustration shows the moment a satellite positions itself to couple to a space station.
11. Sun-powered Space Station
Admittedly it doesn't look like ISS a lot; however, this sun-powered space station is designed as a launch platform and transfer point to the other planets.
12. Returning from orbit
Does this look familiar to you? Here, a three-man crew returns from the orbit with the help of parachutes.
It is an interesting thing how most of these black and white designs have become our reality! Even more so, we are talking about the International Space Station opening to tourists in the near future...