Visions Of Space Stations

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The first description of a habitable satellite was made by Rev. Edward Everett Hale in an 1869 Atlantic Monthly magazine story titled "The Brick Moon." The 1920s brought more realistic descriptions from German researcher Hermann Oberth and from two Austrians, Baron Guido von Pirquet and Captain Herman Potoĉcnik (writing as Hermann Noordung). These visionaries foresaw bases in space observing Earth, relaying communications around the world, and refueling spaceships for travel to the Moon and the planets.

In the 1940s and 1950s, German writer Willy Ley and rocket scientist Wernher von Braun popularized the space station concept. Von Braun's rotating wheel-shaped design (76 meters [250 feet] in diameter), orbiting 1,730 kilometers (1,075 miles) high, became the most widely recognized space station concept.