The US designed a space station during the Cold War
From December 1963 to June 1969, the US Air Force spent upwards of $1.5billion on a project known as the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) which was eventually cancelled.
Due to the sensitive and classified nature of the project in the height of the Cold War, it is difficult to understand exactly what the US was trying to achieve at the time.
One of the declassified documents, which were released by the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), goes so far as to ask: "Is the MOL a laboratory? Or is it an operational reconnaissance spacecraft? (Or a bomber?)"
However, other documents show that one of the goals was to spy on the Soviet Union.
De-classified images from inside the Manned Orbiting Laboratory
Wed, March 8, 2017
At the peak of the space race, when the Soviet Union was considered a threat, and the Beatles were a hot new band invading American music, the United States had a partially classified human space program. It was called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory
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The Manned Orbiting Lander
Michael Yarymovych, who was at the time technical director of the MOL project, said: "We were doing something that was exciting and important.
"We're going to also do something very important for national security. We are going to go look behind the Iron Curtain … defend the nation while doing the exciting things of manned spaceflight.”
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A mock cockpit of the MOL
Despite spending over six years and the best part of $2billion on the project, the MOL never actually came to fruition as it was plagued by overspending on perpetual delays.
The research helped America get humans on the moon
However, there were positives that came out of it, such as the remodelling of NASA's two-seat Gemini spacecraft and the development of the Titan-3C launch vehicle.
The research that went into it also helped America become the first nation to land people on the moon in 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, with Michael Collins piloting the module, stepping foot on the lunar satellite.