SP-4011 Skylab: A Chronology
 
 
THE KEY EVENTS
 
 
 
 
 
[xi] 1959
 
 
20 February: NASA officials outlined the long-range objectives of the agency's space program to a Senate committee. The objectives included a multimanned orbital space station.
 
8 June: In a Project Horizon report, Wernher von Braun advanced a theory for using a spent booster stage as a space station's basic structure.
 
 
1961
 
 
5-6 January: McDonnell Aircraft Corporation proposed a one-man space station consisting of a Mercury spacecraft and a cylindrical space laboratory capable of a 14-day mission in a shirt- sleeve environment.
 
 
1962
 
 
April: MSC designers and planners prepared a preliminary document that outlined areas of investigation for a space station.
 
17 October: Joseph F. Shea, OMSF, solicited suggestions from each of the NASA Hq Program Offices and the NASA Centers on potential uses and requirements for a manned space station. Such ideas, he said, would help determine whether adequate justification existed for such a space laboratory.
 
 
1963
 
 
1 June: MSC announced two space station study contracts for a 24-man orbital laboratory to be designed for a useful orbital lifetime of five years.
 
 
1965
 
 
6-10 August: NASA's Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight advised Center Directors of establishment of a Saturn/Apollo Applications Office within OMSF.
 
20 August: MSFC designers began serious investigation of an S-IVB Orbital Workshop involving in orbit conversion of a spent S-IVB stage to a habitable shelter for extended manned utilization.
 
10 September: The Apollo Extension System was redesignated the Apollo Applications Program.
 
13 September: MSC, MSFC, and KSC were officially informed of the changed guidelines for Center management roles.
 
 
1966
 
 
28 January: Potential benefits of the Apollo Applications Program were summarized by George E. Mueller.
 
January: Douglas Aircraft Company submitted a summary report to LaRC covering the activities of three phases of the Manned Orbital Research Laboratory conducted from June 1963 to February 1966.
 
[xii] 21 March: The Manned Space Flight Experiments Board was created by agreement between NASA and the Department of Defense.
 
1 April: MSC presented a request for proposals to Douglas, Grumman, and McDonnell for definition studies on the Saturn S-IVB spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM).
 
6 May: Astronauts voiced concern over the purposes and proposed work statement for the SSESM, noting a number of operational and safety concerns connected with purging the stage's hydrogen tank to create a habitable structure in space.
 
11 July: NASA Hq officials made several significant AAP decisions concerning the roles of MSFC and MSC.
 
25 July: The Orbital Workshop was approved as an experiment for flight on AS-209.
 
26 July: Full responsibility for AAP missions was assigned to the Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA Hq.
 
13-15 August: Agreement was reached on the respective roles of MSC and MSFC in development and operations of future manned space flight hardware.
 
19 August: NASA announced selection of McDonnell to manufacture the airlock module for AAP.
 
30 December: Mission objectives for AAP-l and AAP-2 flights were outlined by NASA Hq.
 
 
1967
 
 
26 January: NASA announced plans to use a cluster configuration for AAP flights.
 
26 July: NASA selected Martin Marietta Corporation as contractor for payload integration of experiments and experiments support equipment.
 
2 August: NASA terminated all activity associated with the lunar mapping and survey system.
 
 
1968
 
 
2 February: Key check points were established for AAP to ensure sufficient management visibility of the program status.
 
20 July: The Post Apollo Advisory Committee issued its report which confirmed the basic objectives of AAP and played a deciding role in its later evolution.
 
 
1969
 
 
4 March: An AAP baseline configuration review was held at NASA Hq.
 
2 May: An AAP Software Board was established.
 
21 May: Choice of a Saturn IB "wet" Workshop vs. a Saturn V "dry" Workshop was the major subject discussed at a Manned Space Flight Management Council meeting.
 
23 May: MSFC Director Wernher von Braun responded to George E. Mueller's request for recommendations from the field Centers on the "wet" vs. "dry" Workshop issue, saying he preferred the "dry" Workshop and giving his reasons.
 
18 July: NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine approved the shift from a "wet" to a "dry'' Workshop.
 
22 July: AAP Director William C. Schneider directed the three manned space flight Centers to implement the necessary changes to effect the "dry" Workshop program.
 
8 August: MSFC definitized the contract with McDonnell Douglas for two Orbital Workshops for AAP.
 
16 September: NASA announced the AAP change from "wet" to "dry" Workshop substantially improved the probability of mission success and crew safety.
 
22 October: The AAP Director approved changes in the Orbital Workshop at a meeting at MSFC.
 
 
1970
 
 
2 January: MSFC shipped a test version of the Saturn S-IVB stage to McDonnell Douglas to be converted into an Orbital Workshop test article.
 
[xiii] 17 February: NASA announced that AAP had been redesignated the Skylab Program
 
18 March: An interface panel organization was established within the NASA Skylab Program for defining, controlling, and resolving inter-Center problems.
 
4 May: A system flexibility study was conducted of systems and subsystems in the Skylab cluster to achieve maximum flexibility in case of a malfunction.
 
15 May: NASA announced that both the Skylab Saturn V and Saturn IB launches would be from Launch Complex 39 at KSC.
 
26 May: The Apollo telescope mount critical design review was completed at MSFC and final approval given the ATM design.
 
10-14 August: A critical design review for the airlock module was held at McDonnell Douglas.
 
24-27 August: A critical design review of Skylab's multiple docking adapter was completed at Martin Marietta, Denver.
 
14-18 September: An Orbital Workshop critical design review was conducted at McDonnell Douglas, Huntington Beach, California.
 
21 September: A Saturn Workshop crew station review began at MSFC with Government and industry engineers monitoring the progress of nine astronauts as they "walked through" many of the Workshop tasks.
 
16-20 November: An EVA critical design review was held at the MSFC mockup area and neutral buoyancy simulator with 10 astronauts participating.
 
 
1971
 
 
12 February: Acoustic testing of the Orbital Workshop dynamic test article was completed at MSC.
 
15 December: An MSFC-MSC agreement was approved detailing responsibilities for Skylab flight crew training in the neutral buoyancy simulator at MSFC.
 
December: The Skylab Program was reviewed by a Skylab midterm task team.
 
 
1972
 
 
11-12 January: The Manned Space l light Management Council agreed to retain the 30 April 1973 launch-readiness date.
 
19 January: Prime crewmen were named for the three Skylab missions.
 
7 March: The Skylab rescue mission was a definite NASA commitment.
 
21 June: A CSM design certification review board met at MSC and concurred in accepting the CSM design for Skylab.
 
17 July: A Skylab vibration and acoustic test program which began at MSC in January 1971 was completed.
 
29 August: After completion of 28 days of the Skylab medical experiments altitude tests at MSC, it was decided to continue the planned 56-day test to completion.
 
6-7 September. A special ceremony marked completion of the Orbital Workshop prior to its readiness for shipment from Huntington Beach to KSC.
 
19 October: A Skylab cluster systems design certification review was conducted at MSFC.
 
21 November: NASA Hq defined the review procedure and readiness requirements for the flight readiness review which would be conducted prior to each Skylab mission.
 
30 November: Skylab cost savings were achieved by increasing payload weights in some instances.
 
 
1973
 
 
29-30 January: The airlock, multiple docking adapter, and Apollo telescope mount flight units were mated to the lunar vehicle.
 
27 February: Skylab 2 was moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39.
 
5 April: Planning dates for the four Skylab launches were officially confirmed by NASA.
 
17-20 April: A flight readiness review was held at KSC, followed by an announcement of "ready to go" for Skylab I on 14 May and Skylab 2 on 15 May.
 
[xiv] 14 May: Skylab I was launched from KSC. Deployment of the Workshop solar array and the meteoroid shield was not successful, requiring a postponement of the Skylab 2 launch.
 
23-24 May: The design certification review board determined that a "Skylab Parasol," deployed through the scientific airlock, would be the prime method of improvising a thermal shield for the Workshop.
 
May: Skylab 2 was launched from KSC and rendezvoused with Skylab I during the fifth revolution. Damage to Skylab I was reported to the ground.
 
26 May: The crew completed the task of deploying the Skylab parasol, and the Workshop temperature started to drop.
 
7 June: Two astronauts performed an EVA and successfully freed the undeployed solar array, after which it was fully deployed.
 
22 June: The Skylab 2 command module splashed down in the Pacific Ocean following a successful 28-day mission.
 
28 July: Skylab 3 was launched from KSC and began its mission, ending with a landing in the Pacific Ocean on 25 September.
 
13 August: A decision was made to delete the Skylab Saturn V Orbital Workshop capability effective 15 August.
 
30 August: Guidelines were issued by NASA for release, disposition, and storage of all unneeded Skylab Program equipment.
 
16 November: Skylab 4 was launched from KSC for a planned duration mission of 56 days with an option of extending it to 84 days. The command module and crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 8 February 1974, 84 days 1 hour 15 minutes 31 seconds after liftoff.


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