Painting 22 shows the pilots, having fully activated the lab, now hard at work on their secret photographic assignments, but only in a stylized form because Jacobe omitted the top-secret spotting telescopes and viewing screens for sighting earth targets.

Engineer in space suit demonstrated chair and lap belt in MOL mockup (NRO MOL photo 9. Credit: McDonnell-Douglas and NRO).

Jacobe depicted the chairs realistically (see NRO MOL photo 9, at right), movably clamped to the front of the console and using a low-slung lap belt to restrain, but not support, the men.

In addition to chairs, Jacobe also depicted the foot restraints apparently intended for MOL: toe holds. Both men in painting 22 have inserted the toes of one foot into a crevice along the bottom of the panel. This matches similar restraints in McDonnell-Douglas photographs of its full-scale MOL mockup (see NRO MOL photo 11, at right).

Engineer in space suit demonstrates toe holds in MOL mockup (NRO MOL photo 11. Credit: McDonnell-Douglas and NRO).

Compare the right-hand figure in painting 22 with Skylab astronaut Alan Bean in the weightless neutral body posture with cleat-in-grid foot restraint at the solar telescope console (NASA photo S74-5150).

The minimalist chairs and the bump helmets were common features of early space age planning but astronauts soon dismissed them as unnecessary in weightlessness. Specifically, the seats would probably have been discarded by the first crew on MOL, as the first crew of Skylab did with the chair provided for one of its consoles (see Skylab trainer photo, below). The natural crouch of the "neutral body posture" of weightlessness was adequate for most console operations, especially with convenient foot restraints keeping the crewman within reach of the console (see NASA photo at right below).

No acetate is present, but the onionskin is the most substantially annotated in the collection (see bottom photograph). The revisions in writing were: "add wire, add plug on to edge of consoul" [sic], "athletic socks," see fig 13 foot restraints," and "see fig. 9 on seat". Those figure numbers must have been for a reference document, because they do not indicate paintings 9 and 13: there is no 13 in this collection, and 9 is a launch sequence image.

Chair originally provided on Skylab at ATM console, as seen in Skylab trainer at Space Center Houston near NASA Johnson Space Center. (Photo credit: John B. Charles, December 15, 2015.)

There were also hand-drawn sketches of alterations to the shape of the helmet and the placement of the lap belt and toe restraints. At the top right corner, the handwritten directions were: "Work on this last - if you run out of time, omit this one [initialed] RAC," and at the bottom right corner, the words "as is" written and circled in both pencil and red pencil.

The cover sheet seems to have summarized those directions in three handwritten revisions in the lower left quadrant: "(1) helmet wrong, (2) no shoes, and (3) foot restraints." They were apparently a listing of the needed corrections (e.g., "no shoes" meaning "man should not be wearing shoes") that Jacobe made because the painting includes all these features, plus his signature (the fourth of only five signed paintings in this collection); presumably he would not have signed it until it was finished.


  • Skylab information from: Cooper, Henry S.F., Jr. A House in Space. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976.