Skylab was the United States' first space station. Constructed from the S-4B stage of a Saturn V Moon rocket, the Skylab Orbital Workshop had as much usable interior space as a medium-sized house. Skylab was launched on May 14, 1973 and almost immediately ran into serious problems. A shield meant to protect the station from the sun's heat and radiation was ripped away during the launch, taking with it one of Skylab's two solar panels. However, the ingenious astronaut crews who lived on board Skylab during the next six months were able to make repairs and conduct a tremendous amount of pioneering scientific experiments in areas ranging from the effects of weightlessness on the human body, to solar and stellar astronomy, to Earth resource observations, to materials processing. When NASA was unable to obtain the funding necessary to attach a booster rocket to Skylab to raise it to a higher and safer orbit, the space station's orbit eventually decayed and Skylab plunged through the Earth's atmosphere to its destruction on July 12, 1979. (Note: Although NASA generally considers the launch of the Skylab Orbital Workshop as Skylab 1 and the manned missions as Skylab 2, 3, and 4, the crew patches refer to the crews as Skylab 1, 2, and 3, respectively.)
# of Flt. Date Spacecraft Name Crew Days Mission/Payload -------- ----------------------- ---- ---- ------------------------ Manned Flight Details 05/14/73 Skylab Orbital Workshop - - 3 manned missions 05/25/73 Skylab 1 3 28 Skylab mission 07/28/73 Skylab 2 3 59 Skylab mission 11/16/73 Skylab 3 3 84 Skylab mission
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1996-2013 Arnold E.
van Beverhoudt, Jr.