The Apollo space program was much more than a set of missions to the moon. It was also a technology platform. A technology platform that provided the basis for future space programs. A technology platform that the Apollo Applications Program was created to leverage and enhance.
In real life, not much came of the Apollo Applications Program. Very little funding was given to the program, and the program suffered. There were only two actual real life outcomes of the Apollo Applications Program:
- Skylab. The Skylab space station was the first U.S. space station. But it was damaged and hobbled, and never lived up to its full potential. It was in orbit only six years, and only three crews visited the station. It’s most famous for the picture with one solar panel deployed and the other folded, damaged, against the station.
- The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. This was a single joint mission between the United State’s NASA and the Soviet Union. Two ships from each country docked in space, exchanged a handshake, and then went on their way. In total, they spent just under two days together in space. This was important politically, but not technically or scientifically.
So much potential…so little results. The Apollo Applications Program could have been so much more.
Planned for the AAP were flyby visits of Venus and Mars, lunar bases, and greater orbital space stations. None of that came true.
That is, in the “real world”. But in Belitopia…
The Apollo Applications Program. Welcome to Belitopia.