May 21, 2022

Skylab was the first American space station. It was launched on May 14, 1974 from the Kennedy Space Center. The space station was damaged during launch when the micrometeorite shield detached from the workshop and fell off, carrying one of the two main solar panels behind it and jamming the other solar panel so that it could not be opened. This deprived Skaljlab of most of the electricity needed for its operation, and also removed protection from intense solar warming, threatening to render the space station unusable. However, the first crew managed to save Skylab by developing a replacement umbrella and freeing the stuck solar panel. This was the first time that repairs of this magnitude had been made in space. There was a laboratory for studying microgravity on it, and several solar experiments were performed, including the analysis of soft X-rays from the Sun with a wavelength of 6-49 angstroms. Skylab flew into the atmosphere and burned over Australia on July 11, 1979. Skylab station was designed to observe the sun at different wavelengths. It served as a solar observatory and was operational for only one year (1973-1974).


Richard A. Matzner (2001). Dictionary of Geophysics, Astrophysics, and Astronomy. CRC Press.

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