In 1963 the United States Air Force announced that it would begin work on a project called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory or MOL, as it was commonly known. The idea of the project was initially to determine the efficacy of putting American military personnel into space. The cold war was near its peak and the United States and the Soviet Union were racing to get control of extra-terrestrial militarization zones. As the project progressed, however, the mission became more focused on building a space station for military reconnaissance. Eventually, by 1969, the funds for the MOL had dried up and then President Nixon pushed to cancel the program to cut back on spending. The more visible NASA Skylab project would receive some of the funding instead.
On this past February 12th the PBS program NOVA ran an episode called AstroSpies. Coming out of college in 1967 the MOL was the very first project that my father worked on at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York. He was on the project from 1967 until its cancellation in 1969. Dad watched the show when it aired, completely by coincidence because the show he was planning to watch was a rerun and he just flipped over to Nova, and even recognized one of the engineering models shown on the show as having come from his drafter!
The NOVA episode AstroSpies can be viewed online. Dad was involved in the training of some of the USAF Astronauts as well. He helped to train Colonel Albert Crews and Colonel Richard Lawyer.
Today was the final day of my “Color Printing Course” that I have been taking at Kodak in Rochester. This, as I recall, was the final photography class that I took at Kodak. I took several over the years including classes on composition and darkroom techniques. I have been a member of the Kodak Camera Club (the KCC) for some time at this point and use the darkroom facilities which are open to members up at the Theater on the Ridge inside of Kodak Park in Greece, New York located at the corner of Ridge Road and Lake Avenue.
Now that I have completed this class I now carry a card which authorizes me to use Kodak’s commercial color developing machines. This will make it vastly easier for me to do color darkroom work. Color is much more time consuming and difficult than black and white and lends itself far less to manual intervention. Now I can do the base darkroom work and then use the high quality processing machines just like professionals use.
It is really great that I am able to take classes on photography via the Kodak Camera Club as they are considered the best place to take classes – even better than the school which specialize in photography. The dark room facilities here are the best in the world. It is a very impressive experience to come here for all of my photography work.