Only a year after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, Krafft Ehricke of General Dynamics' Convair Division designed a series of space stations named Outpost. These were to be built around the Atlas ICBM which Convair was developing. They would fly in an orbit 400 miles above the earth and accommodate a four man crew.
(Convair and Smithsonian Air and Space Museum)
Outpost I would be an Atlas launched without a payload, two two-man gliders to serve as lifeboats, and a Snap II atomic reactor to power the station. In addition to the Atlas, three Centaur (one manned) and one Agena would be needed to carry all the equipment needed into orbit. Other manned Centaurs would be used for crew rotation. The living quarters would be in the forward part of the Atlas, with the atomic reactor at the rear. The living quarters were to be made of rubberized nylon.
Once Outpost I could provide no more information, Outpost II would be launched. Outpost II would consist of three Atlas rockets linked together. The station would be set spinning end-to-end to introduce an artificial gravity. The crews would utilize one end as living quarters and the other as laboratories. The Snap II reactor would be located in the center. It was supposed that Outpost II could also retrieve and repair malfunctioning satellites.
Following Outpost II would be the larger Outpost III. This would consist of as many as 16 Atlas missiles. There would be clusters of five Atlas tanks at each end. As with Outpost II, there would be artificial gravity. Outpost III would be used to study the effects of space on plants and animals.