Space has always intrigued human beings. Moreover,  the cold war in the 20th century made USA and USSR enter the space race.

Humanity witnessed numerous milestones in space technology back then. The USSR was ahead of the race with her launch of satellite Sputnik I. There was no looking back.

However, NASA launched the first space station into space on May 14th, 1973. The Skylab was the first space station. Moreover, the Skylab proved that humans can survive and work in space.

NASA announced its celebration online on Twitter. NASA rejoiced with Happy 50 Skylab. The tweet reads,

“Happy 50th, Skylab!

Our first space station launched into orbit on May 14, 1973. Skylab hosted three crews of @NASA_Astronauts, proving that humans could live and work in space for extended periods of time. Learn more with @NASA_History:”

Happy 50 Skylabs: NASA Celeberates!
Source: Twitter


1. Launch

Skylab was launched on 14th May 1973. The launch was aimed at proving that humans can work in outer space.

Happy 50 Skylabs: NASA Celeberates!
Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

The project had three sets of crew visiting Skylab. Later, the project ended on 8th Feb 1974.

 2. Crew

Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz, and Joe Kerwin were the first crew to work on the Skylab. Also, they recorded  28 days onboard Skylab as the first crew.

Subsequently, Alan Bean, Jack Lousma, and Owen Garriott took over as the second crew. They spent 59 days. Also, this stay gave NASA encouragement to send a third crew.

Finally, the third crew consisting of  Jerry Carr, Bill Pogue, and Edward Gibson worked in Skylab. They set a record of 84 days. This record remained unbroken until the Shuttle-Mir program.

However, the shuttle Mir program was launched after two decades.

3. Purpose

The primary aim of the launch was to prove humans’ ability to work and survive in space.

Skylab: The Second Manned Mission. A Scientific Harvest

The Skylab was also designed to work as a solar observatory. It was the only manned space observatory at that time.

Also,  it was designed to carry out research in microgravity and medicines.  The skylab was equipped with a facility to serve as home to the astronauts.

Additionally, the project led to the invention of showers, sleeping bags, and kitchen utilities designed for space operations. This equipment paved the way for the invention of equipment that works in microgravity.

4. Disintegration

NASA initially decided to retain Skylab in space for 20 years.  It was to maintain as a station for shuttling astronauts.  But, the plans failed due to a solar flair.

The Skylab was affected badly by the flair.  It entered the atmosphere on 7th July 1979. Finally, the Skylab disintegrated in the atmosphere of the Earth.

The debris fell in Western Australia and the Indian Ocean. No damages or injuries were reported.

In summary, the Skylab project proved the supremacy of the USA over the USSR during the cold war era.

It also paved the way for the development of the present-day International Space Station.  The ISS is jointly manned by astronauts from the USA, Russia, Japan, and China.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the launch of Skylab,  let us celebrate the achievements of mankind in space.

Also, we should appreciate the courage of the crews of Skylab for daring to go to space with no early experience.



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