Skylab 3 Mission Landing Anniversary (25 September 1973)
Skylab 3 was the second manned mission to the first American space station, Skylab. The mission began July 28, 1973, with the launch of three astronauts on the Saturn IB rocket, and lasted 59 days, 11 hours and 9 minutes. A total of 1,084.7 astronaut-utilization hours were tallied by the Skylab 3 crew performing scientific experiments in the areas of medical activities, solar observations, Earth resources, and other experiments.
Crew: Commander Alan L. Bean (second spaceflight), Pilot Jack R. Lousma (first spaceflight), Science Pilot Owen K. Garriott (first spaceflight)
Skylab Reentry Anniversary
In Houston, Charles Harlan and his team stood by to make their last decision. For some hours before reentry the computers gave the same prediction: the workshop was coming down on 11 July. The only question that remained was the timing of the final tumbling maneuver. During the last hours of 10 July it appeared that Skylab would reenter on the best possible orbit of the day on the 11th, an orbit passing across southern Canada and the east coast of the United States and then over a long stretch of open ocean to Australia, the next landfall. But early calculations of the debris pattern showed that if tumbling were initiated at 140 kilometers as planned, the western end of the 7400 X 185 km “footprint” would slightly overlap North America. JSC officials then recommended, and Headquarters concurred, that the cluster be tumbled sooner, to move the predicted impact area downrange. Harlan picked an area about 1300 kilometers south-southeast of Cape Town, South Africa, halfway between North America and Australia and south of the shipping lanes, which would require tumbling at 148 kilometers. The command was executed at 3:45 a.m. EDT, and the workshop went into an end-over-end spin.
Happy Anniversary Skylab!
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of 169,950 pounds (77 t). Three manned missions to the station, conducted between 1973 and 1974 using the Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) atop the smaller Saturn IB, each delivered a three-astronaut crew. On the third mission, an additional Apollo / Saturn IB stood by, ready for launch if needed to rescue the crew in orbit.
Skylab included an Apollo Telescope Mount (a multi-spectral solar observatory), Multiple Docking Adapter with two docking ports, Airlock Module with EVA hatches, and the Orbital Workshop, the main habitable volume of the station. Power came from solar arrays, as well as fuel cells in the docked Apollo CSM. The rear of the station included a large waste tank, propellant tanks for maneuvering jets, and a heat radiator.
The station was damaged at launch when the micrometeoroid shield separated from the station and tore away, depriving the station of most of its power, removing protection from intense solar heating, and threatening to make the station unusable. The first crew was able to save it in the first ever in-space major repair, by deploying a replacement heat shade and freeing the single remaining, jammed main solar array.