Apollo Applications Program

The Apollo Applications Program ( AAP short, English for the Apollo Applications Program ) was a space project of the United States. It was launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched in August 1965, was created out of a desire to use on the moon flights, the hardware of the Apollo program for more scientific missions.

The only planned project that was actually carried out, was the Skylab space station, and so was the Apollo Applications Program officially renamed on 17 February 1970 in Skylab Program.


1965 and 1966 began studies spaceships ( Crew and Service Module CSM), landers ( Lunar Module, LM) to complement and Saturn launch vehicles of the Apollo missions and to use for other purposes, with a focus on scientific missions. At this time the scope of the lunar landing missions still unclear and the exact number of required aircraft was therefore not yet defined.


Under the name of AES (Apollo Extension Series) a concept for a lunar base has been studied before 1965. Here, an unmanned rocket of the type Saturn V would have brought a rating based on the CSM habitation on the moon, while a second Saturn V would have landed the usual two-man crew. This configuration, which also provided a rover and a small rocket aircraft would have up to 200 days stay allowed; the isolation of the CSM pilot who had remained during this time alone in lunar orbit, however, posed a special challenge, therefore, there were also considerations to land the whole crew and leave the CSM autonomously in orbit. The study was planned in four phases until the mid -1970s, some of the requests ( Rover, handcarts, three day stay) in the later missions were Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 actually implemented.

Advanced Moonbase

As a further development of the AES programs ALSS (Apollo Logistics Support System) and LESA ( Lunar Exploration System for Apollo) were provided. It new, more efficient landing ships such as the carrying five tons load LM Truck and mobile laboratories, a nuclear reactor power on the lunar surface, and stays for two people for 30 days ( ALSS ) or up to six people and 180 days were sought ( LESA ). Concrete plans it did not.


In the event of failure of the ascent stage of the Lunar Module NASA examined some simple concepts to bring two astronauts into orbit to the waiting there CSM.

Manned Venus Flyby

Another idea was right to bring a Saturn V on a return course to earth with a flyby of Venus. For this mission, the LM would have been required, so that the Saturn V, the required speed could muster. The astronauts would have burned the empty rocket stage S- IVB made ​​habitable (so-called "wet workshop" concept) and were switched shortly before returning to Earth again in the CM.

Space station

There were a variety of proposals for space stations, which should serve as a manned orbital laboratories. In addition to the finally realized Skylab, which consists largely of an empty rocket stage, existed, for example, the desire for a far more spacious research center with integrated 3- m space telescope. A more desirable design represents the modification of the LM is as orbital laboratory, which had been started simultaneously with a complete Apollo spacecraft and fitted in place of the ascent stage with experiments. The positioning of a space station in orbit around the moon was also discussed.


After 1968, the plans as a result of budget cuts focused on three different concepts:

  • An Apollo Telescope Mission ( ATM) on an Earth orbit to study the sun, supplies consisting of components of the LM and from solar cells;
  • A concept of a space station based on an empty S- IVB as "wet workshop" in an Earth orbit.


In 1969, the focus shifted to the concept of a space station, after it was clear that even the smaller Saturn IB rocket type were available. Skylab consisted of old and new Apollo modules, relied also essential features of the Apollo Telescope Mission to and was eventually built as ready to use "dry workshop". Despite a glitch during startup, when the space station was severely damaged, the program was a great success and was 1973/1974 three times manned.

After the last Skylab crew team still had stocks for 180 days. NASA assumed to be able to use the station with the space shuttle on and planned the mission STS -2a for re- commissioning. But in 1979 - even before the first shuttle launch - you had to give up the last Skylab Apollo application because of unexpected head losses and failures.