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NASA CELEBRATES SKYLAB ANNIVERSARY



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC


Subject: NASA CELEBRATES SKYLAB ANNIVERSARY AT VON BRAUN FORUM
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Al Feinberg
Headquarters, Washington          Nov. 5, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-4504)

Jerry Berg
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256/544-0034)

RELEASE: 03-358

NASA CELEBRATES SKYLAB ANNIVERSARY AT VON BRAUN FORUM

     Eight NASA astronauts who lived and worked on Skylab, 
America's first space station, will celebrate the 30th 
anniversary of the historic laboratory on Nov. 10, during the 
annual Von Braun Forum in Huntsville, Ala.

Eight of the nine NASA astronauts, who lived on Skylab for 
periods as long as 84 days, will lead panel discussions. The 
eight astronauts, Owen Garriott, Joe Kerwin, Ed Gibson, Paul 
Weitz, Jerry Carr, Jack Lousma, Al Bean and Bill Pogue, will 
discuss past and present achievements in human spaceflight. 
Pete Conrad, the ninth Skylab crewman, died in 1999.

The public event is at 3 p.m. EST at the Chan Auditorium at 
the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and admission is 
free.

Skylab, a two-level workshop was made from a converted Saturn 
S-IVB stage. It was launched May 14, 1973 atop a Saturn V 
rocket, the same vehicle that launched the Apollo moon 
missions. Weighing nearly 100 tons and having the same volume 
as a small, three-bedroom house, Skylab orbited Earth for more 
than 171 days.

Three different, three-person crews staffed Skylab and 
performed hundreds of solar and microgravity experiments. 
While Skylab remains a bright page in NASA history, its 
success was not without problems. About 63 seconds after 
launch, a meteoroid protection shield ripped and tore off a 
solar array panel, jamming and preventing the deployment of 
another. As a result, Skylab was subject to serious 
overheating. The first crew launch, originally scheduled the 
day after Skylab's, was delayed 10 days, while teams at NASA's 
Marshall Space Flight Center worked around the clock to devise 
solutions to the problem.

Following ground team instructions, the first Skylab crew, 
Conrad, Weitz, and Kerwin, successfully erected a reflective 
parasol sunshade and cut a strap to open the remaining solar 
array. The mission continued until the crew returned to Earth 
on June 22, 1973, clearing the way for the two follow-on 
missions. 

Skylab proved humans could live and work in space for long 
periods without artificial gravity, and experiments showed 
microgravity was not only beneficial but also necessary for 
some research. Skylab was a major stepping-stone toward 
developing the International Space Station, a 16-nation 
orbiting laboratory under construction in space since 1998. 



For more information about Skylab history, visit the Marshall 
Center History Web site 


-end-

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