Thursday, 16 August 2012

1973, Science & Technology: Skylab

On 14 May 1973 Skylab, the first U.S. space station, was launched unmanned in orbit around Earth. During the launch Skylab was a solar panel was completely damaged, and another sat down and seriously damaged a heat shield. Three manned missions followed between 1973 and 1974. During these subsequent missions Skylab was used to investigate whether people could live for a long time in space. The last mission departed on 16 November 1973 and came back on 8 February 1974. After several years circling unmanned Skylab re-entered Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated in 1979, with debris striking portions of Western Australia.

Skylab 1 SL-1 (14/05/1973): unmanned launch of space station

Skylab 2 SL-2 (SLM-1) (25/05/1973 – 22/06/1973): Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz & Joseph Kerwin, the first Skylab crew's most urgent job was to repair the space station. Skylab's meteorite-and-sun shield and one of its solar arrays had torn loose during launch, and the remaining primary solar array was jammed. Without its shield, Skylab baked in the sunshine. The crew had to work fast, because high temperatures inside the workshop would release toxic materials and ruin on-board film and food.

Skylab 3 SL-3 (SLM-2) (28/07/1973 – 25/09/1973): Alan Bean, Jack Lousma & Owen Garriott, the second manned mission conducted many scientific experiments. A second solar panel was mounted. Besides the human crew on this flight there were also two spiders, Arabella and Anita. These two "astronauts" proved that they were able to spin a web at a complete lack of gravity. Furthermore, six mice, 720 fruit flies and two fish were part of the crew.

Skylab 4 SL-4 (SLM-3) (16/11/1973 – 08/02/1974): Gerald Carr, William Pogue & Edward Gibson, the third and final manned mission conducted like the previous mission many experiments. It also extensively observed the comet Kohoutek.

Skylab - Space Station I - NASA Documentary

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