239. Letter From the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Paine) to the President of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union (Keldysh)1 2

Dear Academician Keldysh:

Frank Borman has told me of your interest in further pursuing the matter of common docking equipment for U.S. and Soviet spacecraft when you visit Washington early next year.

NASA looks forward to discussing this matter with you at that time. Our invitation to you in my letter of July 31 to send Soviet specialists to the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston to view our docking arrangements and to initiate technical discussion is, of course, still open, and we hope you will accept.

In our discussions, we will propose to you that, in addition to the joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. development of common docking equipment, we consider together a more immediate opportunity. We believe that we could readily install a Soviet docking fixture in the Multiple Docking Adapter of our Skylab scheduled for launch in November, 1972.

Soviet spacecraft could then utilize this docking device to rendezvous and dock with the Skylab. Such an arrangement would create a wide range of possible further cooperative activities, including joint work by U.S. and Soviet scientists in Skylab during 1973. A summary of the Skylab space station prototype is enclosed.


T.O. Paine
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 392, Space Programs, 1970. No classification marking. Paine’s July 31 letter to Keldysh, is printed in Logsdon (ed.), Exploring the Unknown, Vol. II, External Relations, Document I-44.
  2. Paine suggested that Keldysh discuss common docking equipment for Soviet and U.S. spacecraft during Keldysh’s planned trip to Washington in 1971.