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Manned Orbiting Laboratory crew members to speak Oct. 22

  • Published
  • By Sarah Swan
  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

(Updated) Five space pioneers will share their experiences during a free presentation titled “The Dorian Files Revealed: The Manned Orbiting Laboratory Crew Members’ Secret Mission in Space” at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. 

In the 1960s, the U.S. Air Force initiated a program to carry out experiments in space by a two-man crew in a laboratory orbiting the earth for up to 60 days. The program, known as the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL), provided a platform for a highly secret program to gain Cold War intelligence on the Soviet Union and other adversaries. The MOL crew members pioneered efforts to carry out long term missions in space.


The museum will host a panel discussion by five individuals who trained as MOL crew members and went on to have distinguished careers in space exploration and national security. They will share their insights into the MOL program and how the program prepared them for leadership in the nation’s space and national security programs. The panel will include: 

  • Karol Bobko – Following the MOL program, Bobko went to NASA where he served as a pilot on one space shuttle mission and as a commander on two others. He retired from the Air Force as a colonel and then continued his career in the private sector.
  • Albert Crews – He was selected as an astronaut in the first group for the MOL program. He transferred to NASA Flight Crew Directorate at the Johnson Space Center in June 1969 when the MOL program was cancelled. He remained a pilot for NASA until his retirement, flying such aircraft as the Super Guppy outsize cargo transport, the WB-57F atmospheric research aircraft and the OV-095 SAIL space shuttle simulator.
  • Bob Crippen – He too was assigned to NASA after the MOL cancellation, and he played several critical roles in NASA’s manned space program, including serving as the pilot of the first space shuttle mission and the commander of three other missions. He eventually rose to oversee the shuttle program. After retirement as a captain in the U.S. Navy, Crippen continued working in space programs with Lockheed.    
  • Richard Truly – He was assigned to NASA after the cancellation of the MOL program. There he played critical roles in several manned space programs, including serving as a space shuttle commander. Truly was tapped to lead the return to space after the Challenger explosion. He went on to lead NASA as its administrator from 1989-1992. After retiring from government service, he has continued to have an active career in space programs and other endeavors. He retired as a Navy vice admiral.
  • Dr. Michael Yarymovych – He held several prominent leadership positions in the government, including assistant administrator of the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration, chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force, director of NATO AGARD in Paris, France, deputy assistant secretary of the USAF for R&D, and technical director of the USAF Manned Orbital Laboratory. Before that, Yarymovych had several responsible positions with the NASA Headquarters Manned Space Flight Program involved with the Apollo lunar landing effort and initial definition studies of the Space Station and the Space Shuttle.

During the presentation, the National Reconnaissance Office will also reveal information about recently declassified elements of the program.


For more information or handicapped seating arrangements during the event, contact the museum’s Special Events Division at (937) 255-1743. Filming or videotaping the presentation is prohibited.


The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about one million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit


NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.


NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division: Rob Bardua at (937) 255-1386 or Sarah Swan at (937) 255-1283.