MORL-SATURN IB WIND TUNNEL MODEL.
Model of the MORL-Saturn IB launch combination, stainless steel, 31 inches long. Mounted horizontally on wood base, with NACA/NASA brass plaque reading: "Presented to Thomas C. Kelly from his friends at Langley Research Center, 1979."
A large and striking model of a space station concept. The Manned Orbital Research Laboratory (MORL) was conceived in 1963 as a laboratory for a program of biomedical, scientific and engineering experiments. It would be launched in one piece atop a Saturn I or IB, and would accommodate one crew member for a whole year, with three other astronauts visiting for shorter periods (Hansen, Spaceflight Revolution, 1995, p 293). A 1965 NASA photograph appears to show this very model being tested in the 8-foot transonic tunnel at the Langley Research Center. The MORL concept was scrapped soon after in favour of the cheaper, smaller and less permanent Apollo Extension System, which became the Apollo Applications Program and ultimately Skylab (launched in 1973).
Thomas Kelly was a senior research scientist at Langley specializing in aerodynamics, the Project Engineer for the Supercritical wing project, and the author of several NASA publications.