Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14th - Skylab Anniversary

May 14  of this year 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of America's first space station.  massing 169,950 pounds, Skylab was launched atop a modified Saturn V rocket. 

Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979.  Due to a constantly descending orbit, Skylab entered the atmosphere and crashed over parts of Australia.  

The space station almost didn't make it.  During launch, a micro-meteor shield detached and  damaged one of the large solar arrays.  The shield also helped maintain temps inside the lab and without most of its power systems  could not maintain comfortable living conditions or electrical systems for life support and to run experiments.  

Skylab hosted three crewed missions during it's active career. 

The first manned mission was Skylab 2 SL-2 (SLM-1). The crew arrived on station at 5/25/73. This mission lasted 28 days. On board were Pete Conrad,  Paul Weitz and Joseph Kerwin.    

The second mission was Skylab 3 SL-3.  The crew was aboard 7/28/73 and the mission ran for  59 days.  Skylab mission 3's crew was  Alan Bean,  Jack Lousma and  Owen Garriott.  

The final manned mission was Skylab 4 on 11/16/73.  This was the longest running mission lasting     84 days.  4's crew was Gerald Carr, William Pogue and  Edward Gibson.  

Plans were to continue manned mission to Skylab, using the new Shuttle to move the crippled station to a higher orbit and repair the launch damage.  However due to delays, the Shuttle was not available at the needed time and Skylab entered the atmosphere, crashing many parts on Australia.     

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