SP-4011 Skylab: A Chronology


[253] PART III: Skylab Development and Operations: February 1970-November 1974


a. February 1970 to December 1971.

b. January 1972 to December 1972.

c. January 1973 to November 1974.



- 1972 -


January 3

The National Science Teachers Association had received more than 15 000 applications for participation in the NASA Skylab Student Project, NASA announced. The Association was managing the project to stimulate interest in science and technology by promoting participation by U.S. students in grades 9 to 12 in experiments, demonstrations, or activities to be performed by astronauts during 1973 Skylab missions. NASA would select 25 proposals on the basis of compatibility with Skylab requirements. Selectees and their teachers would attend a Skylab Educational Conference and award presentations at KSC at Skylab launch time. MSFC would build the required hardware in consultation with students. Regional and national selectees would be announced in April.

NASA News Release 72-1, 3 January 1972.


January 3

NASA Hq issued a revised directive providing work authorization for the Skylab Program to the Centers. The directive provided flight numbers and objectives, assigned the launch vehicles and command and service modules to be used, and designated the launch complexes to be utilized. It also listed the controlled milestones for Skylab and planned launch dates. The milestones included delivery of major flight, test, and training hardware; delivery of other major items such as ground support equipment; key reviews; completion of key tests; facility operational readiness; and launch readiness. The planned launch dates were: 30 April [254] 1973 for SL-1; 1 May 1973 for SL-2; 30 July 1973 for SL-3; and 28 October 1973 for SL-4.

Skylab Program Directive No. 4F, Director, Skylab Program, to Dist., "Skylab Program Work Authorization," 3 January 1972.


January 4

The OWS water chiller which had been redesigned was undergoing tests at AiResearch Corporation. The reason for the redesign was that nickel ion generation exceeded that allowable in the specifications. At an OWS water system review on 20 November 1971, the probability of exceeding the nickel ion concentration was discussed, and a decision was made not to consider an increase in the allowable nickel concentration. In September 1971 McDonnell Douglas tests indicated that considerably higher numbers of nickel ions were being released from the water chiller.

During many water subsystem meetings, nickel ion generation of the entire OWS water system, not just the chiller, had been considered a major problem. It was indicated that with the exception of the water system components installed in the wardroom table (including the chiller), the OWS water system ion generation would be controlled with an ion exchange resin, and the redesign of the chiller would correct the problem. This would permit the water supply to meet specifications throughout Skylab 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Letter, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, "Skylab Drinking Water Nickel Content," 4 January 1972.


January 6

Skylab Managers William C. Schneider (NASA Hq), Robert C. Hock (KSC), Leland F. Belew (MSFC), and Kenneth S. Kleinknecht (MSC) met at MSFC to resolve the problems associated with the OWS test operations at McDonnell Douglas. Kleinknecht had previously expressed concern about the difficulties in getting the first article-both OWS and experiments-through factory acceptance; the effects of a tight OWS checkout operation; and the need for a multi- Center (MSFC-KSC MSC) contractor team to complete the OWS factory checkout, integration of Government-furnished equipment and other stowage, and verification of man and machine interfaces with astronauts and their support people. Actions taken at the meeting ensured a tightening of discipline and resulted in progress in eliminating the areas of concern.

Letter, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to Leland F. Belew et al., 3 January 1972; memorandum for record, William C. Schneider, 11 January 1972; Ietter, William C. Schneider to Dale D. Myers, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, 14 February 1972: memorandum, Dale D. Myers to George M. Low, Deputy Administrator, 16 February 1972; letter, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to Leland F. Belew, 12 April 1972; memorandum, William C. Schneider to Dale D. Myers, 4 May 1972.


January 11

MSC proposed that SL-1 should be flown at an altitude of 435 km and that the orbit should be controlled by removing any insertion dispersions and drag effects with burns of the SL 2 CSM reaction control system after that spacecraft had...



Skylab workstation is submerged for neutral buoyancy tests

Activities at MSFC on 5 January 1972 during a simulation of film retrieval from the Apollo telescope mount in the MSFC Neutral Buoyancy Tank.


....rendezvoused and docked with SL-1. A controlled, repeating orbit would satisfy requirements common to many Earth resources experiment proposals. In addition, multiple passes over fixed targets would increase the probability of successfully obtaining data which otherwise might be lost because of cloud cover or equipment malfunctions. It was estimated, after a study lasting several months, that implementation of a controlled orbit would enhance the probability of success of such experiments by between 25 and 50 percent. The study had also shown that the proposal was feasible with regard to hardware, operations, and the crew.

Letter, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to Manager, Skylab Program, MSFC, "Controlled Repeating Orbit for Skylab," 11 January 1972.


January 11-12

The NASA Manned Space Flight Management Council agreed to retain the currently planned Skylab launch-readiness date of 30 April 1973 and to assign no [256] more experiments or other efforts requiring changes in hardware, flight plans, or training.

MSF Management Council Minutes, 31 January 1972.


January 12

Representatives of MSC and MSFC discussed the needs for Skylab flight communications systems/ground performance operations data and the possibility of compatibility testing to develop data. Among the decisions reached were the following: flight and ground systems performance and compatibility testing would be conducted using the MSC Manned Space Flight Network station and test facilities; MSC and MSFC would jointly develop the necessary test plans; both Centers would participate in the test and the data evaluation; and MSC and MSFC would jointly review existing systems performance data and current test plans against operational data requirements.

Letter, S. R. Reinartz, MSFC, to C. E. Charlesworth, MSC, 18 January 1972.


January 13

Leland F. Belew reported that the airlock module flight article systems tests were nearly completed. The AM had been moved from the test area on 10 January to begin the mating operation with the ATM deployment assembly and the fixed airlock shroud. The multiple docking adapter had completed shell leakage tests and was undergoing radiator leakage tests. Special illumination tests and TV camera/video recorder tests began 10 January at McDonnell Douglas. Personnel from MSC, MSFC, and NASA Hq were observing the testing.

TWX, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, 13 January 1972.


January 18

NASA Hq approved addition of a video tape recorder to the Skylab TV system. A presentation had been given at MSFC to Dale D. Myers, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and William C. Schneider, NASA Skylab Program Director. The addition of the recorder would provide increased flexibility and the capability for more TV coverage. Playback would be controlled from the ground.

Configuration Change Board Directive 800 72-0111, 10 February 1972.


January 19

A Skylab crew news conference, with prime and backup crewmen, was held at MSC. Astronaut Charles Conrad, Jr., said preparations were on schedule for an April 1973 launch. Contractor checkouts and tests of hardware were expected to be completed for delivery to KSC in July. Skylab would carry some 20 000 pieces of stowed equipment on board to provide life support for nine men for 140 days. "So it all goes up at one time, and we've got a great deal of work to do, not only to learn how to operate this vehicle but also all the experiments in it. It became apparent that we could not be 100-percent cross-trained as we had been in [257] Apollo, so we've . . . defined some areas for each guy to become expert in.

That allowed us to balance out the training hours. Right now . . . we have some 2000 training hours per man defined. We've been working on the basic training for the past year . . . [and] our training hardware . . . [is] going to be available to us for training . . . about February 1." The commander would have overall responsibility for the mission and would be a command and service modules expert. The science pilot would be expert in all medical equipment and in the Apollo telescope mount and its associated hardware. The pilot would be expert in Orbital Workshop systems and electrical systems. Remaining experiments would be divided among crew members according to availability and choice.

Prime crewmen for the first mission were Charles Conrad, Jr., Joseph P. Kerwin, and Paul J. Weitz; second mission, Alan L. Bean, Owen K. Garriott, and Jack R. Lousma; third mission, Gerald P. Carr, Edward G. Gibson, and William R. Pogue. Backup crews were Russell L. Schweickart, F. Story Musgrave, and Bruce McCandless II, first mission; Vance D. Brand, William B. Lenoir, and Don L. Lind, both second and third missions. Kerwin, Garriott, Gibson, Musgrave, and Lenoir were scientist astronauts; the other Skylab crew members were pilot astronauts.

NASA News Release 72-12, 19 January 1972; Test Skylab Crew Press Conference, 19 January 1972.


January 20

An ad hoc Earth resources experiment package investigations office was established at MSC. O. Glenn Smith was given the additional duty assignment as Manager of the EREP investigations office. The office was assigned responsibility for conducting and managing the contracting phase of Skylab EREP investigations.

MSC Announcement 72-10, 20 January 1972.


January 27

Skylab Program Director William C. Schneider told the Skylab Managers at MSFC, MSC, and KSC that "at the last meeting of the Management Council it became apparent that the Council was not aware of our recent activities and current planning for contamination control on Skylab." Schneider said that a presentation had been scheduled to update the Council on the subject for the meeting to be held in Washington 7-8 March. He asked that MSFC assume the lead role in developing and delivering the presentation, with MSC and KSC assisting. The following areas were to be covered: MSFC-background, requirements, cluster hardware, and ground test program; MSC-command and service modules, Earth resources experiments package, and operational plans; and KSC- prelaunch contamination control plans.

Letter, William C. Schneider to MSFC, MSC and KSC, "Contamination Presentation for Management Council," 27 January 1972.



an overhead view of the SKylab Crew quarters and a photo of the airlock module

Left, the crew quarters area of the Skylab Orbital Workshop training model, which had been shipped from MSFC to MSC to be used for Skylab mission crew in flight simulation exercises. Right, the airlock module flight article is shown in a clean room at the McDonnell Douglas facility at St. Louis before being mated with the multiple docking adapter. The airlock module provided a pressurized passageway between the multiple docking adapter and the Orbital Workshop.


January 28

Trace contamination tests were scheduled to be made on the OWS during transportation to KSC. MSC would provide a toxicologist to accompany the OWS to supervise sampling, storage of exposed charcoal, and return of the charcoal to the Analytical Research Laboratories for analysis. Analytical Research Laboratories, under contract to MSC, had completed an AM/MDA trace contaminant analysis that would be compared with that of the OWS. A carbon monoxide analyzer would also be provided by MSC. A carbon monoxide monitor was in the development stage for potential use on the OWS. The test would be conducted during the Skylab medical experiment altitude tests; if these tests indicated that carbon monoxide was being generated within Skylab, a flight monitor would be furnished.

Letter, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to Leland F. Belew, MSFC, "Trace Contaminant Diagnostics on the OWS (Orbital Workshop)," 28 January 1972.


February 1

MSFC and MSC completed a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for support contracts for Skylab. The contract would include both ATM and crew radiation monitoring support in the areas concerning the solar network and Mission Control Center Operations. ATM support performed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as required by MSFC and MSC would be contracted for by MSC, with that Center providing the technical monitor for the contract and [259] technical direction during the mission simulation and inflight operations phases. Requirements would include a variety of solar data on current solar conditions and predicted solar conditions. These data would ensure effective scheduling of ATM experiments and ATM data for Principal Investigators in the form of photographs, line drawings, etc., to support their detailed analyses of solar activity.

The crew radiation monitoring support would be contracted by MSC, with all technical direction provided by the MSC technical monitor. These activities would include management and operation of facilities for acquisition and transmission of solar data for crew radiation monitoring during simulations and inflight operations; a 24-hour solar watch and photographic record; and monitoring of current and future radiation environments to provide an assessment of the biological effect on the flight crew.

Letter, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to MSC, Manager, Skylab Program, "National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Support Contract for Skylab," 1 February 1972, with memorandum of agreement, "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Support to the Skylab Program," signed by Leland F. Belew and Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, undated.


February 1

NASA invited research scientists to submit proposals for Skylab experiments studying use of weightlessness. Experiments would use weightlessness in space to develop improved techniques for preparing biological materials and for studying crystal growth, solidification, and other aspects of nonorganic substances. One invitation was for electrophoresis-motion of charged particles through fluid while under the influence of an electrical field. Use of this technique on ground was hampered by effects of heat convection in fluid and sedimentation. A second invitation was for investigation of solidification effects, crystal growth, and other phenomena in weightless materials and close observation of them as they cooled and solidified. First experiments could be flown on Skylab missions begining in 1973.

NASA News Release 72-22, 1 February 1972.


February 3

The Apollo telescope mount flight unit was being readied for a three-month, post-manufacturing checkout at MSFC. The ATM would be moved in May from the Quality and Reliability Assurance Laboratory to the Astronautics Laboratory for vibration tests and would be delivered to MSC I June for thermal and vacuum tests. The ATM would be launched on the first Skylab mission in 1973.

MSFC News Release 72-8: MSC News Release 72-32, 3 February 1972.


February 4

Contamination control, a continuing problem in the space program, was the subject of a letter from Skylab Director William C. Schneider to MSFC, MSC, and KSC Skylab Program Managers. He pointed out that this problem had received considerable attention, particularly in two areas: (1) cleanliness of major modules during manufacture and before launch; and (2) contamination control of the [260] cluster during orbital operations, particularly of the man-related induced environment.

Schneider said, ". . . the anomalous behavior of two experiments on Apollo 15 substantiates the need for efforts of the foregoing nature and indicates to me the need for increased emphasis on contamination aspects of Skylab experiments. .

He added that a special effort should be directed toward assessment and elimination of contamination possibilities in Skylab experiments to increase confidence in the ability of all experiments to function successfully. Schneider considered it necessary that all experiments be critically reviewed for susceptibility to malfunction from contamination either in the experiment itself or in its operating environment. He further felt that a contamination "audit" of the manufacturing, transportation, and installation procedures used for each experiment should be conducted; the experiment cleanliness status should be determined; and acceptable (and realistic) contamination tolerance levels for experiment operation should be established.

Schneider suggested that those objectives were identical to those of the Skylab systems operational compatibility review and would provide an appropriate and timely mechanism to accomplish the audit.

Letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to MSFC, MSC, and KSC, "Contamination 'Audit' of Skylab Experiments," 4 February 1972.


chart illustrating Skylab Mission engineering, system components and their operational locations

Skylab management responsibilities.


February 14

[261] MSC developed a Skylab flight management team plan that provided for coordinated management guidance for sustained mission periods, was flexible, and was capable of adjusting to varying mission and management situations. The proposed team would be composed of NASA management officials having primary responsibility for the overall conduct of flight: the Skylab Program Director; the MSC, KSC, and MSFC Skylab Program Offices; the Director of Flight Operations; and the Director of Flight Crew Operations. The NASA Skylab Program Director or his designee, who would be at MSC during the eight-month mission period, would serve as the senior Headquarters official at the Mission Control Center, chairing the flight management team meetings and coordinating decisions with other Headquarters' offices to ensure that their requirements were met.

Letter, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, 14 February 1972.


February 15

William C. Schneider (NASA Hq) issued a directive that listed the directorates within the NASA Hq Skylab Program Office and spelled out the specific responsibilities of each. The Skylab organization was composed of directorates for project integration; program budget and control; reliability, quality, and safety; engineering; and operations.

Skylab Program Directive No. 57, "Functions and Responsibilities of the Headquarters Skylab Program Office," 15 February 1972.


February 15

Evaluation of events and redesign resulting from the May 1971 OWS-1 meteoroid shield deployment test indicated that a successful "mechanical separation and deployment" must be demonstrated prior to shipment of the flight article to KSC. This retest would verify flight readiness of redesigned shield mechanisms and would be considered a vital part of the OWS 1 acceptance test. A pin-release panel would be used for this purpose after appropriate "walk- through" procedures were exercised and prior to the planned "ordnance deployment."

All three of these activities were to be performed at McDonnell Douglas prior to shipment of the flight article from Huntington Beach, and after arrival at KSC. "Walk-through" was defined as a simple verification that no mechanical binding of any linkage would occur upon installation of the meteoroid shield. "Mechanical separation and deployment" was defined as a hands-off automatic deployment, with the shield rigged to less than flight loads, and a test that could be performed repeatedly without panel replacement. "Ordnance deployment" would represent the ultimate deployment verification. A separate ordnance panel with primary and backup expandable tubes would be required, and the deployment would be fully automatic and remotely controlled.

Letters, William K. Simmons, Jr., MSFC, to F. J. Sanders, McDonnell Douglas, "Orbital Workshop Meteoroid Shield Development," 15 February 1972; Karl L. Heimburg, MSFC, to L. F. Belew, MSFC, "Orbital Workshop and Backup OWS Meteoroid Deployment Verification Test Recommendations," 4 February 1972.


February 18

[262] Vibration testing began on the Apollo telescope mount prototype at MSFC. After vibration testing, the prototype would be disassembled and refurbished. It would then become the backup ATM flight unit.

MSFC, "Skylab Program Office Weekly Activity Report," 22 February 1972.


February 22

NASA Skylab Program Director William C. Schneider outlined the program's progress in testimony during the House Committee on Science and Astronautics' Subcommittee on Manned Space Flight hearings on NASA's Fiscal Year 1973 authorization bill: "During the coming fiscal year testing and checkout will be completed and operation of Skylab will have started. Within 2 years, the first Skylab . . . will have become part of history, having contributed new knowledge in many fields."

Skylab offered "an earth observation capability never before available" to U.S. manned spacecraft. During the eight-month mission, Skylab would fly over the entire United States, except Alaska, much of Europe, all of Africa, Australia, and China, and almost all of South America-covering 75 percent of Earth's surface and passing over each point every five days. By the end of 1971, 288 investigations requiring Skylab data had been submitted-249 U.S. and 39 foreign. Of these, 164 had been identified for further study. Skylab was the "first manned space flight program designed specifically to carry activities and equipment explicitly aimed at improving man's life on earth. It will contribute significantly to the increase of knowledge of pure science and is also an experimental space station; a forerunner of permanent space stations of the future." Earth-oriented sensors would test technology for synoptic surveys of many environmental and ecological factors and give preliminary data for management of ecological systems. Solar and astronomical observations and other science experiments would expand knowledge of the solar system, universe, and near-Earth space. Biomedical experiments would inform how man's well being and ability to function were affected by living in space.

U.S. Congress, House, Subcommittee on Manned Spare Flight of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, 7973 NASA Authorization: Hearings on H.R. 72824, 92d Cong., 2d sess., Feb. March 1972, pp. 168, 176, 179 180.


February 25

MSC sent letters to approximately 160 potential EREP investigators to obtain clarification and supplemental information on the experiments. From the information, MSC would make recommendations to NASA Hq regarding the overall size of the EREP investigation program, as well as specific investigations and supporting rationale.

Letter, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Charles W. Mathews, NASA Hq, 25 February 1972.


February 28

Concern about crew exercise during Skylab led to a proposed crew exercise pro. gram for quantitating the amount and level of personal exercise performed by the crewmen during the 30 minutes a day set aside for personal exercise.

[263] Letter, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, 28 February 1972.


March 1

A Skylab stowage hardware review was held at MSFC. Plans for the stowage of flight crew equipment were presented by MSFC, MSC, and KSC. Factory closeout stowage and long-term stowage without retest were established as acceptable ground rules. Maximum practical factory flight stowage would reduce the testing and stowage efforts at KSC. Crew verification of stowage hardware would be accomplished during systems test or formal crew compartment fit and function reviews at the manufacturers and KSC.

Letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Managers, Skylab Program, MSFC and MSC, and Manager, Apollo-Skylab Programs, KSC, "Skylab Stowage Hardware," 20 March 1972.


March 5

The AM/MDA flight units were hardmated at McDonnell Douglas, St. Louis. The units would remain mated through checkout, delivery to KSC, launch, and mission.

MSFC, "Skylab Program Office Weekly Activity Report," 7 March 1972.


March 6

The NASA Skylab Program Office approved the formation of a Scientific Airlock Working Group, designating MSC the lead Center, with full support from MSFC. Organization of the working group had been discussed at a scientific AM/Principal Investigator meeting at MSC 3 February and again during a T025 experiment (coronagraph contamination measurements) telephone conference 28 February. As approved, MSC would appoint a chairman and MSFC a cochairman. The group would define and optimize flight operation requirements and would assist in defining the joint operation requirements of experiments in which data from one instrument complemented data obtained from a second or third instrument. Meetings would be held as appropriate, but at regular intervals. The chairman and cochairman would coordinate the activities of the working group with their appropriate Center elements.

TWX, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, 6 March 1972.


March 7

The Skylab rescue mission was a definite NASA commitment. The hardware, procedures, documentation, and training would need to be available immediately after the launch of Skylab 2 for a potential rescue mission. To accomplish this requirement, the rescue mission would be treated as a separate mission in the Skylab Program. The rescue mission would be established as a standing agenda item for major boards and panels, and its status would be reviewed on a regular basis with other missions.

Memorandum, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to Dist., "Skylab Rescue Mission (SL R)," 7 March 1972.


March 13

[264] While the CSM was docked with the OWS, the systems would generally be powered down except for the communication and thermal control systems. The thermal control system, which was expanded by additional thermostat controlled heaters, would maintain temperatures above the freezing point for components, propellants, and propellant lines. While docked to the OWS, one side of the CSM would be in sunlight, the other in the shade. Insulation and a heat reflecting thermal control paint were added to the side that would be exposed to sunlight; the heaters would help in controlling the temperature on the shaded side. Temperatures on the cold side of the spacecraft were expected to approach 200 K (-100°F),

North American Rockwell News Release SP-10, "Skylab Program Apollo Command/ Service Modules," 13 March 1972.


March 13

Efforts required for the development of long-lead-time software items were initiated in the postmanufacturing checkout of the backup Skylab. Directives were being issued for development of the test and checkout requirements specification document, which would be the first milestone required in the development of any acceptance checkout equipment software. An acceptance checkout equipment software requirements document would then be developed from the test and checkout specification document. It was estimated that for a backup OWS/AM/ MDA to meet the launch turnaround time of 10 months, acceptance checkout equipment would probably be required to be ready in May 1973.

Letters, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to Leland F. Belew, NASA Hq, 25 February 1972; Leland F. Belew to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, 13 March 1972.


March 17

An inter-Center agreement that defined the MSC-MSFC-KSC responsibilities in integrating flight crew equipment into KSC tests, checkout, and launch activities was approved by Skylab Program Managers Robert C. Hock (KSC), Leland F. Belew (MSFC), Kenneth S. Kleinknecht (MSC), and James A. McDivitt, also of MSC. The agreement defined flight crew equipment as Government- furnished equipment which would be stowed or carried by the flight crew into the spacecraft.

MSCM 8010, Program Management Guide, 17 March 1972; KSC Management Issuance 1050.2/AA, Ch. 2.


March 20

A personal hygiene task team, established for the purpose of reviewing all personal hygiene activities within the Skylab Program with regard to their medical adequacies and effectiveness, completed the review. The system was found to be acceptable. However, the team recommended that a stick deodorant, an item in the individual personal hygiene kits, be deleted because of its outgassing and flammability problems.

Memorandum, R. S. Johnston, MSC, to Director, MSC, and Manager, Skylab Program, MSC, "MR&OD Review of Skylab Personal Hygiene Equipment," 20 March 1972.


March 21

[265] NASA announced opportunities to fly new materials science and manufacturing experiments in space. Proposals would be received no later than 30 March. Tentative plans called for the proposals to be evaluated and recommendations for their selection or rejection made by 1 May. Experiments recommended for Skylab would then be submitted to the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board for final evaluation in mid-May. A directive for implementation of the selected experiments would be issued during the first week in June.

Letter, Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, to Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, 21 March 1972.


March 22

MSC initiated a series of planning meetings for the Skylab extravehicular activities. Meetings would be held at MSC on the fourth Thursday of each month with representatives from MSC, MSFC, McDonnell Douglas, and Martin Marietta. The purpose of the meetings would be to establish and coordinate Skylab EVA operational requirements and constraints, review EVA hardware and verify its operational suitability, obtain an agreement on recommended flight activities and mission guidelines, identify and resolve operational problem areas, and compile comments on EVA crew procedures and operational planning.

Letters, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to Leland F. Belew, MSFC, 15 February 1972; Leland F. Belew to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, 22 March 1972.


March 27-28

Preliminary design reviews on the Skylab video tape recorder were held at MSC and MSFC. The most significant items discussed were flammability and outgassing, capability for recording Earth resources experiments package data, and interleaving the audio with the video. MSFC agreed to furnish an old video tape recorder engineering model for use in flammability and outgassing tests.

TWX, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, 5 April 1972.


April 5

A Skylab medical experiments altitude test (SMEAT) operations management committee was established to review progress of the test during the test period, assess real-time problems as they occurred, track open problems and corrective actions, approve and direct changes in test protocol or policy, release progress reports, meet with news media, and review and approve the daily report to the Director, MSC.

SMEAT, a ground-based simulation test, was intended primarily to obtain and evaluate baseline medical data on the medical experiments scheduled for Skylab, including studies of the cardiovascular system, the expenditure of energy to do measured work, and food and nutritional investigations. The test crew of three astronauts, R. L. Crippen, W. E. Thornton, and K. J. Bobko, would also engage in a full schedule of activities of work, eating, leisure, recreation, and sleep comparable to the Skylab schedule during their 56 days in the 6-m-diameter test chamber designed to simulate the Skylab OWS atmosphere. The test was scheduled to begin 26 July 1972.

[266] Memorandum for record, R. S. Johnston, MSC, 24 April 1972; SMEAT Press Conference, MSC, 23 June 1972, MSC News Releases 72 135, 23 June 1972, and 72-170, 2 August 1972; newsletter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Skylab Program News," 31 May 1972; letter, R. S. Johnston to Principal Investigators, "Skylab Medical Experiment Newsletter," 7 April 1972.


April 6

NASA and the National Science Teachers Association announced selection of 25 finalists in a Skylab Student Project to propose flight experiments and demonstrations for performance aboard Skylab in 1973. NASA had announced the selection of the Association for management and operation of the Skylab Student Project in September 1971. Purpose of the project was to stimulate interest in science and technology by directly involving students in space research.

Since the project's inception, more than 15 000 applications for participation had been received from throughout the United States and overseas. Finalists' proposals had been selected from these entries. The project, which had been initiated in the spring of 1971 by the NASA Administrator, involved students in grades 9 to 13.

Letters, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Leland F. Belew, MSFC, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, Thomas W. Morgan, KSC, "Skylab Educational Program," 3 May 1971; William C. Schneider to Leland F. Belew, "Skylab Student Project," 2 November 1971; Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, to Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, "Skylab Student Project," 16 November 1971; memoranda, Dale D. Myers to the NASA Administrator, "High School Student Participation in the Skylab Missions," 18 August 1971; B. P. Brown, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Minutes Skylab Educational Program Team Meeting," 14 July 1971; William C. Schneider to, Directors of Life Sciences, Physics, Astronomy, and Earth Observation Programs, "Review of Proposed Skylab Student Project Investigations," 17 and 21 March 1972; NASA News Releases 71-189, 28 September 1971; 72-1, 3 January 1972; and 72-71, 6 April 1972; TWX, William C. Schneider to Leland F. Belew, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, and Thomas W. Morgan, '"Skylab Student Project Final Selection," 7 March 1972; "Weekly Progress and Problem Summary for the Administrator Skylab Program," 17 June 1971; newsletter, William C. Schneider to Dist., "Skylab Program News," 31 May 1972.


April 12

MSC was authorized to procure EREP aircraft sensors for use in the Earth-resources aircraft program in support of underflight activities for Skylab EREP investigations.

Memorandum, Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Applications, "Funding Support for Aircraft Sensors and Skylab Underflights," 12 April 1972.


April 13-14

At the NASA Manned Space Flight Management Council meeting, the Skylab Program Director and the Center Program Managers presented a comprehensive review on the Skylab status. The participants agreed that every possible effort would be made to maintain the 30 April 1973 launch readiness date for the Skylab Workshop.

"Minutes, MSF Management Council meeting," 17 April 1972.


April 14

During an Orbital Workshop meteoroid shield test at MSFC, it was discovered that in one hinge section of the foldout panel, nine of the 15 torsion springs were [267] installed in such a manner that they were only 50-percent effective in action to assist shield deployment. Action was initiated to ensure proper spring action.

Letter, W. K. Simmons, Jr., MSFC, to F. J. Sanders, McDonnell Douglas, "Orbital Workshop Meteoroid Shield Folded Panel Springs," 17 May 1972.


April 21

MSFC, KSC, and MSC performed studies which identified the cost and reliability tradeoffs on planned one- and two-week slips between the launches of SL-1 and SL-2. An analysis of the studies identified significant cost and reliability penalties that would be incurred if the SL-2 mission were slipped, reconfirmed the desirability of getting the CSM docked to the Orbital Workshop as soon as possible after launch of SL-1, and recommended against extending the launch interval between SL-1 and SL-2. Launch plans called for a 1-day interval between the two launches.

Memorandum, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Cost and Reliability Tradeoffs Associated With Varying the Interval of the Skylab-1 and Skylab-2 Missions," 21 April 1972.


April 25

A telecon among the Skylab Program Managers (MSC and MSFC), Apollo-Skylab Program Manager (KSC), and the Director, Skylab Program (NASA Hq) was held to discuss AM/MDA/EREP testing. It was agreed that the AM/MDA checkout through simulated flight and altitude chamber testing would be conducted at McDonnell Douglas as rapidly as possible. EREP bench testing would also be conducted at McDonnell Douglas to verify EREP operations. Following the AM/MDA altitude chamber test and the F,REP bench testing and before delivery to KSC, an integrated AM/MDA!E:REP system test and checkout would be conducted. Delivery to KSC was scheduled for 30 September 1972.

Letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Managers, Skylab Program, MSC and MSFC, and Manager, Apollo-Skylab, KSC, "AM/MDA EREP," 3 May 1972; TWX, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to William C. Schneider, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, C. K. Williams, MSC, and R. C. Hock, KSC, "Airlock/MDA/EREP Agreements," 1 May 1972; MSFC, "Weekly Activity Report," 4 May 1972; letter, Leland F. Belew to Manager, Skylab Program, MSC, "EREP Integrated Bench Testing at MDAC-E," 18 May 1972.


April 30

A compact shower assembly for use on Skylab Earth-orbital missions was designed and built at MSFC. The shower remained stored on the floor when not in use. Astronauts would step inside a ring on the floor and raise a fireproof beta cloth curtain on a hoop and attach it to the ceiling. A flexible hose with push-button shower nozzle could spray 2.8 liters of water from the personal hygiene tank during each bath. Used water would be vacuumed from the shower enclosure into a disposable bag and deposited in the waste tank.

MSFC News Release 72-38, 3 May 1972.


During the month

Recently, one employee was killed and another seriously injured while operating a gas-tight storage battery power supply at the MSC Water Immersion Facility.



technicians demonstrating the procedure to take a shower in Skylab

Provisions were made so that each Skylab astronaut could take a shower every week. MSFC designed and built a shower assembly to be stored as a compact unit in the crew quarters area of the workshop. At the left is a demonstration of the manner in which an astronaut would step inside a ring mounted on the floor and raise the 109-cm-diameter hoop to form the shower area. The extended curtain is then attached to the ceiling (right), and the shower is ready for use.


An Accident Investigation Board determined the cause of the accident and recommended corrective actions to help preclude such accidents in the future. The facility was used for astronaut training.

Accident Investigation Report of the Water Immersion Facility Battery Box Explosion, April 1972; letter, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Dist., same subject, 26 June 1972.


May 1

An evaluation of the protection available to flight crews from hazards associated with electrical shock from powered equipment and from buildup of static charges was conducted. The evaluation consisted of a Skylab systems operations compatibilities assessment review of the requirements used to implement electrical shock protection and confirmation of contractor efforts to ensure implementation of requirements. Assessment of the review activities indicated that the requirements for protection against shock and static charge had been met.

Letter, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to Manager, Skylab Program, MSC, "Electroshock Protection," 1 May 1972.


May 4

A suit-drying crew station and design review was held at McDonnell Douglas. Representatives from MSC and MSFC attended. Basic design and operational procedures for equipment stowage, suit drying, and desiccant canister drying were found to be generally acceptable. However, the launch storage configuration for the desiccant canisters and provisions for maintaining a dryness level while suits were stored in the command module between use were not completely resolved.

[269] The objective was to maintain a 50-percent relative humidity level within the astronaut suits during inflight storage to prevent a potential fungal contamination.

Letters, S. D. McIntyre, MSFC, to Dist., "Suit Drying Crew Station and Design Review Minutes," 9 May 1972; S. D. McIntyre to Dist., "Minutes to Suit Drying Modification Review at MDAC," 13 April 1972; Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to Manager, Skylab Program, MSC, "Orbital Workshop Suit Drying Provisions," 22 March 1972; note, Leland F. Belew to E. F. M. Rees, MSFC, "Suit Drying Station Status," 26 May 1972.


May 8

NASA Hq issued a revised policy for Skylab scientific investigations. The basic concept of the policy, which was issued on 4 October 1971, remained unchanged. However, two significant phrases, "proprietary rights" and "exclusive use of data," were eliminated by the revision.

Letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to MSFC, MSC, KSC, Ames Research Center, and LaRC, "Skylab Policy for Scientific Investigations (Revision A)," 8 May 1972.


May 8-12

NASA officials met at MSFC with the 25 national winners of the Skylab Student Project competition to discuss design of the experiments and demonstrations. During the week, each of the students and their teachers met with their NASA advisors and participated in preliminary design reviews. An informal dinner was held on 10 May with the 25 winners, their teacher-sponsors and chaperones, local officials, and the news media participating. During the visit the students also toured MSFC laboratories and the Alabama Space and Rocket Center.

TWX, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to MSC Manager, Skylab Program, "Dinner Speaker for Student Project Preliminary Design Review Activities," 1 May 1972; newsletter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Skylab Program News," 31 May 1972.


May 9

A meeting was held at MSFC to discuss Skylab data retention and retrieval plans. Representatives from NASA Hq, MSC, KSC, Goddard Space Flight Center, and MSFC attended. Items discussed included storage of original data, data storage and retrieval to meet the needs of primary experiment and systems data users, and provision of data to national data centers. It was agreed that

Letter, R. O. Aller, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Minutes of the Skylab Data Retention Meeting," 12 May 1972.


May 11

[270] The Apollo telescope mount crew compartment fit and function review was conducted at MSFC. Skylab astronauts participated. ATM flight cameras and film cassettes were checked during the review.

MSFC, "Skylab Weekly Activity Report," 16 May 1972.


May 12

A proposal by the University of Texas, through MSC, for use of a Skylab external gas analyzer was disapproved. The mass spectrometer, which would provide a capability to determine the composition and pressure of the external gaseous environment, would augment planned contamination monitoring. However, it was felt the cost and program impacts of the proposed mass spectrometer would outweigh its benefits; therefore, the decision was made not to develop the equipment.

Letters, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Director, Skylab Program, MSC, "Skylab External Atmosphere Gas Analyzer," 24 April 1972; Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to Manager, Skylab Program, NASA Hq, "Skylab External Atmosphere Gas Analyzer," 12 May 1972.


May 17

The following dates and locations were established for Skylab design certification reviews:

Design Certification Review




Launch vehicle 513/206

8-9 June 1972


Command and service modules

25-26 July 1972


MSC experiments

10-11 Aug. 1972


MSFC experiments

14-15 Sept. 1972


Mission/cluster (two parts)


5-6 Oct. 1972


Cluster systems

10-12 Oct. 1972


Launch complex/launch vehicle ground support equipment

January 1973


All center DCR plans and activities would be scheduled to comply with the above dates.

Letter William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Managers, Skylab Program and Saturn Program, MSFC, Manager, Skylab Program, MSC, and Manager, Apollo-Skylab Programs, KSC, ''Establishment of Design Certification Reviews Schedule," 17 May 1972.


May 18

An engineering walkaround inspection team for the Skylab modules was established. Inspection would provide MSC and MSFC program personnel with firsthand knowledge of the workmanship condition of the modules immediately before shipment. Inspections would be performed, as nearly as possible, immediately before compartment sealing, but after the hardware was stored. Walkaround inspection would be made of the OWS and AM/MDA. Team personnel were [271] skilled in the electrical, mechanical, materials, and quality/reliability/safety disciplines.

Letters, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to Leland F. Belew, MSFC, 5 April 1972; Leland F. Belew to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, 18 May 1972.


May 26

An Orbital Workshop crew compartment fit and function test was conducted with representatives from MSC, MSFC, and McDonnell Douglas participating. Ninety percent of the crew compartment fit and function hardware items were satisfactorily reviewed. Problems identified by the crew included numerous mechanical problems in the urine collection system, tools breaking, snaps debonding, and velcro debonding.

MSFC, "Weekly Activity Report," 1 June 1972; memorandum, E. L. Field, MSFC, "OWS Crew Compartment Fit and Function Test," 2 June 1972; MSFC, "Weekly Activity Report," 8 June 1972.


May 31

NASA announced completion of major preflight verification test of Skylab Workshop at the McDonnell Douglas Huntington Beach plant. Two teams of six astronauts performed checkout activities in two, six-hour shifts daily for three days, activating the Workshop to demonstrate that it could support all activities planned for missions. The test was one of the last two major tests for the Workshop, which was 14.6 m long, 6.7 m in diameter, and scheduled for launch in early 1973. A flight demonstration would be conducted before the spacecraft was shipped to KSC during the summer.

NASA News Release 72-117, 31 May 1972; MSC News Release 72-122, 2 June 1972.


June 1

Rising costs for the ATM experiments were attributed to a number of factors. Principal among these was the delay in launch time of over four and one-half years. The ATM development began in 1965 and was scheduled for launch in 1968. The long delay in launch time meant that the Principal Investigators, their in-house staffs, and their contractors had to be supported for the additional four years. Other factors which contributed to the cost increase were new state-of-the art developments for which NASA or the Principal Investigators had no previous experience.

Memorandum, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Space Science Board Comments Regarding High Costs of ATM Experiments Due to Man-Rating," 1 June 1972.


June 6

The AM/MDA crew compartment fit and function test was completed at McDonnell Douglas, St. Louis. During the test, astronauts activated the AM/ MDA to demonstrate that the modules would support all activities planned for the Skylab mission. The crewmen worked with the experiments installed and stowed hardware to verify that mechanical and electrical functions were as intended, and verified that on-orbit operations could be performed as planned.

[272] MSFC News Release 72-72, 12 June 1972; MSFC, "Skylab Weekly Activity Report," 13 June 1972.


June 7-8

A Skylab launch vehicle design certification review board met at MSFC. Representatives from NASA Hq, KSC, MSC, MSFC, North American Rockwell's Rocketdyne Division, Chrysler Corporation, The Boeing Company, McDonnell Douglas, North American Rockwell, IBM, and General Electric attended the review. Purpose of the design certification review was to examine the adequacy of the launch vehicles used for SL-1 and SL-2. Changes required on the Saturn V and Saturn IB were examined to determine overall vehicle capabilities in meeting SL-1 and SL-2 mission requirements. From its findings, and subject to closeout of open work items, the board certified the launch vehicles for SL-1 and SL-2 missions.

Letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Skylab Launch Vehicle Design Certification Review," 3 July 1972; "Minutes of Launch Vehicle Design Certification Review."


June 9

Award of a contract to Itek Corporation, Optical Systems Division, for three multispectral camera systems was announced by MSC. Cameras would be used on MSC's Earth resources aircraft in conjunction with Skylab missions. The airborne multispectral photographic system would obtain photos from altitudes of 378 km. Each photo would show more than 12 800 km2 of the Earth's surface. Photos would be used in assessing urban and metropolitan growth and land use patterns and in inventorying crop, range land, and forest resources.

MSC News Release 72-130, 9 June 1972.


June 18

An MSC-KSC subagreement defining the responsibilities and the inter-Center participation and coordination necessary for test and checkout for preparation and launch of the Skylab Program CSM was approved by Robert C. Hock, KSC Skylab Program Manager, and Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC Skylab Program Manager.

MSCM 8010, Program Management Guide, 18 June 1972.


June 21

A Skylab CSM design certification review board met at MSC. Representatives from NASA Hq, MSFC, KSC, MSC, and North American Rockwell attended. G. B. Merrick (North American) reviewed the program status and the various milestone reviews in support of the Skylab CSM program. Descriptions of the CSM modifications required for Skylab were presented. Following the presentations, the board concurred in accepting the design of the Skylab CSMs as capable of supporting the Skylab Program.

"Minutes, Design Certification Review Skylab CSM Phase II," 7 July 1972; "Skylab DCR CSM Certification," 14 July 1972.


June 23

[273] The Apollo telescope mount flight unit was delivered to MSC for thermal vacuum testing. A configuration turnover review was conducted before the delivery.

MSFC, "Skylab Program Office Weekly Activity Report," 27 June 1972.


July 6

NASA Hq issued instructions which defined requirements and responsibilities on postacceptance changes to Skylab flight hardware, experiments, and stowage items. The instructions established procedures for initiating, authorizing, implementing, and documenting postacceptance changes at the development site, integration site, or launch site.

Skylab Program Directive No. 58, "Post-Acceptance Change Control," 6 July 1972.


July 7

Experiments proposed by 19 high school students from 16 states were selected for the Skylab Program. The experiments were from the 25 national winners selected by the National Science Teachers Association in April 1972. The other six proposed investigations were not selected for flight because their performance was incompatible with the Skylab environment or because the equipment required would involve a development program that could not be accommodated within the Skylab schedule. The Skylab Student Project was endorsed by the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight and by the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board.

Memorandum, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Executive Secretary, MSFEB, "Skylab Student Project," 7 July 1972; NASA Hq News Release, "Student Experiments Selected for Skylab," 20 July 1972; TWX, William C. Schneider to Managers, Skylab Program, MSFC and MSC, and Manager, Apollo-Skylab Programs, KSC, "Skylab Student Project," 28 July 1972.


July 12

Key personnel in the Skylab Program from NASA Hq, MSC, KSC, and MSFC participated in a telecon on design certification reviews (DCRs). Purpose was to discuss a revised DCR approach that would reduce costs without major sacrifices of DCR objectives. A concensus was reached on necessary actions to be taken on the DCR scheduling and procedures.

Memorandum for record, John H. Disher, NASA Hq, "DCR Approach," 12 July 1972; memorandum, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "DCR Approach," 20 July 1972.


July 14

Responsibility for hardware for the Earth resources experiment package was transferred to the Skylab Experiments Project Office in the Engineering and Development Directorate, MSC. Responsibility for EREP has been assigned to the Science and Applications Directorate since 1970, but now the program had reached the stage of delivering hardware for integration and operation in the Skylab Program.

MSC Announcement 72-106, 14 July 1972.


July 17

[274] A Skylab vibration and acoustics test program which began at MSC in January 1971 was completed. The 18-month test program was characterized by extreme complexity requiring highly innovative testing techniques. It was the first time that an extensive test operation was conducted with a computer-controlled system. All components of the Skylab payload assembly were involved in the test program. The complete assembly, as it would be at launch, underwent vibration and acoustic tests. Then the cone and shroud were removed, the ATM deployed, and the CSM joined to the MDA for tests with the assembly positioned as it would be in Earth orbit.

MSFC News Release 72-87, "Skylab Vibration and Acoustics Tests End," 17 July 1972; MSFC, "Weekly Activity Report," 2 August 1972; letter, E. F. M. Rees, MSFC, to Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, 2 August 1972.


July 17

An Orbital Workshop all-systems test began on 17 July 1972 and was completed on 7 August 1972 at McDonnell Douglas' Huntington Beach Vehicle Checkout Laboratory. Following the test, which lasted 309 hours, a meeting was held to verify that the OWS all-systems test had been successfully completed. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that pending closeout of the test anomalies, all test requirements had been satisfied.

TWX, F. J. Sanders, McDonnell Douglas, to MSFC, MSC, NASA Hq, and KSC, "Flash Report, OW-1 All Systems Test," 11 August 1972.


July 18-19

The first command and service modules designed for the Skylab Program were delivered by North American Rockwell. The CSM arrived at KSC via the Super Guppy aircraft. Upon arrival, the CSM, which would be launched on SL-2, was installed in the Operations and Checkout Building to begin its checkout procedure.

Newsletter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Skylab Program News," 22 August 1972.


August 1

A recommendation was made during an Agency budget review to abolish two systems at KSC which were used primarily to support MSC for Apollo. The two systems were the Apollo launch data system and the countdown and status transmit system. MSC concurred in the deletion of the first of these immediately following Apollo 17. MSC also concurred in deletion of the second one if a meaningful cost reduction would be realized, even though the Center considered the countdown and status transmit system a desirable capability.

Letter, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Kurt H. Debus, KSC, 23 August 1972.


August 3

AM/MDA simulated flight tests and altitude chamber tests were completed at McDonnell Douglas with the flight crew participating. During the altitude test, the flight crew operated the systems as they would during an actual flight.

MSC, "Skylab Weekly Activity Report," 11 August 1972.



the Skylab workstation is being lowered into the Neutral Buoyancy Tank for operational tests

Astronauts selected for Skylab missions are shown below being assisted by scuba divers during training in the MSFC Neutral Buoyancy Tank. They are preparing for mission extravehicular activity in which they will install and retrieve Apollo telescope mount film and thermal control coatings (experiment) from the airlock module.

astronaut in spacesuit is being assisted by divers in the Neutral Buoyancy Tank

Above, the Apollo telescope mount flight article is shown being placed in the Space Environment Simulation Laboratory chamber at MSC for extensive thermal vacuum testing to verify its ability to withstand the harsh environment of space.

Astronauts Robert L. Crippen, William
E. Thornton, and Karol J. Bobko

Astronauts Robert L. Crippen, William E. Thornton, and Karol J. Bobko receive moral support and best wishes from, left to right, Royce Hawkins, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Sigurd A. Sjoberg, and James Correale before entering the 20-foot altitude chamber at MSC to participate in a 56-day Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test. The test, which started 26 July 1972, was designed to obtain medical data and evaluate medical experiment equipment planned for use in the Skylab program.


August 3

[276] The Skylab Program Offices at NASA Hq and MSFC were reorganized to meet the changing phase of Skylab activities.

Memorandum, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Managers, Apollo and Skylab Programs, KSC, MSC, and MSFC, "ML Organization Realignment," 3 August 1972; MSFC Charter No. 88, MM 1142.2, 3 August 1972.


August 8

MSFC was conducting a series of manned tests in an altitude chamber to evaluate the Skylab environmental control system. Crew comfort under simulated space conditions was being emphasized. Tests were being conducted with chamber pressure at sea level and reduced to 34.5 kilonewtons per sq m (5 psi, absolute), the pressure normally found at an altitude of 8200 m. This was the internal pressure level at which the Skylab was to operate in space.

NASA News Release 72-162, "Skylab Tests," 8 August 1972.


August 8-10

Critical design reviews were conducted at MSFC for student experiments for which hardware development was approved. Representatives from KSC, MSFC, NASA Hq, and MSC attended the reviews, as well as the student investigators whose experiments were involved. Results of the reviews were satisfactory.

Letter, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to Addressees, "Skylab Student Project Critical Design Reviews," 13 July 1972; MSFC, "Weekly Activity Report," 17 August 1972.


August 9

The Skylab upgraded TV camera final design review was held at MSC. The review covered in detail the electrical and mechanical design, as well as selected manufacturing, test, and reliability aspects. Emphasis was placed on previous and current problem areas and solutions and on specific questions and discussion subjects raised by Center and contractor attendees. Two design problems received particular attention: camera hangup during retrieval into the scientific airlock and lens adjustment binding during external low-temperature camera operation. Both problems were in the process of being resolved.

MSC, "Skylab Weekly Activity Report," 18 August 1972.


August 10

A meeting was held at Goddard Space Flight Center to discuss the possibility of establishing an emergency mission control center for Skylab at Goddard. Personnel from MSC and Goddard attended the meeting. The main point of discussion centered around the desire to establish an emergency center at little or no cost to the two Centers.

Memorandum for record, R. O. Britner, Goddard Space Flight Center, "Skylab Emergency Mission Control," 18 August 1972.


August 10

MSC Skylab Program Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht said there was no basic requirement for including wine in the Skylab menu. In vetoing its use he said that the beverage was not necessary for nourishment or to provide a balanced [277] diet; it was not a fully developed menu item and would involve an unnecessary expense; it would aggravate a minor galley stowage problem; its use would invalidate the experimental results of Experiment M071, mineral balance; and it would result in adverse criticism for the Skylab Program.

Memoranda, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to Director, MSC, "Skylab Menu," 10 August 1972; Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, to Deputy Administrator, "Use of Sherry on Skylab," 30 August 1972.


August 11

NASA Hq published instructions which outlined the basic duties, responsibilities, and procedures to be followed in implementing a Skylab mission contingency review.

OMSF, "Skylab Mission Contingency Review Plan"; letter of transmittal, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to MSC, MSFC, KSC, GSFC, and Patrick Air Force Base, "Mission Contingency Review Plan," 11 August 1972.


August 18

The Saturn IB first stage for the Skylab 2 launch arrived at KSC aboard the NASA barge Orion and was immediately offloaded for processing in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Following preliminary checkout in the VAB transfer aisle, the S-IB 206 first stage would be erected atop the 39- m-tall pedestal on Mobile Launcher 1 on 31 August.

KSC News Release 246-72, 22 August 1972.


August 18

A design certification review of MSC Skylab Government-furnished equipment was held at MSC. Representatives from NASA Hq, MSFC, MSC, Martin Marietta, and The Boeing Company attended. Items of equipment covered included Orbital Workshop food and food trays, biomedical instrumentation, the carbon dioxide dew point monitor, the inflight medical support system, Skylab mobile laboratories, and radiation monitoring equipment.

"Minutes of Meeting, Design Certification Review, Phase II," 18 August 1972.


August 20

A Skylab Program safety analysis report was being prepared by NASA Hq for submittal to the Administrator at the time of the flight readiness review. The report would provide a compilation of the risks associated with Skylab flights, the manner in which they had been accommodated, and the rationale for acceptance of the remaining risks.

Letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Managers, Skylab Program, KSC, MSC, and MSFC, "Safety Analysis Report for Skylab," 20 August 1972.


August 22

A Skylab Advisory Group was established at Headquarters for the purpose of effecting maximum scientific and technological output from the Skylab Program. The Group, whose membership consisted of the Directors of the Earth Observations, Life Sciences, Advanced Manned Missions, Space Technology, and Physics [278] and Astronomy Offices, would meet on a regular weekly schedule with the Skylab Program Director during the Skylab missions.

Newsletter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Skylab Program News," 22 August l972.


August 25

Twenty-four Skylab suits were delivered by the space suit manufacturer, International Latex Corporation; five were ready for delivery, nine were in the manufacturing process, and material for the remaining three had been procured.

Letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Skylab Spacesuit Situation," 25 August 1972.


August 29

MSC Director Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Deputy Director Sigurd A. Sjoberg, Director of Life Sciences Richard S. Johnston, Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton, MSC Skylab Program Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, and members of the Skylab medical experiments altitude tests (SMEAT) team met to review the status of the test program. The team recommended that the test be continued for its full duration of 56 days. Personnel at the meeting felt that the 56 days of physiological baseline data and the additional hardware and procedural evaluation which could be performed in the additional three weeks would outweigh any gain from an early termination of the SMEAT program. In addition, early termination would shorten certain evaluations requiring other test programs to be conducted. The consensus was that SMEAT should proceed to its full duration. The MSC Director approved the recommendation. Half of the maximum 56 test days were completed with the crew in excellent health and spirits. The crew and test teams were still performing to the preestablished time lines and schedules with little or no deviations. The test showed that even though Skylab equipment was built in the same manner as equipment for other space programs and was thoroughly tested in qualification and acceptance tests, when the equipment and crew were brought together in a flight environment, problems developed that could not be discovered in other ways. One of the more significant problems thus far was with an instrument called the metabolic analyzer, designed in part to measure oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced. The instrument had not been working as it should before the test, but it was hoped that enough engineering data could be generated during the test to correct the problems. The test also provided a means of bringing together a flight operations, medical, and crew procedures team and giving them some indication of the problems they might experience in working out their procedures in a flight environment.

"SMEAT Four-Week Status Report," 23 August 1972; memorandum for record, R. S. Johnston, 1 September 1972.


September 1

Six mobile laboratories were being designed for postflight conduct of the Skylab medical experiments. The laboratories would remain at MSC in a semi-operational state until just prior to mission termination. An elapsed time of 17 hours would be required to fly the laboratories on a C-5A aircraft from MSC to one of [279] four Pacific islands in the splashdown area. A one-hour elapsed time from splashdown to laboratory entrance for the flight crew was established by experimenters as necessary to obtain experimental data before readaptation changed the degree of deconditioning caused by extended exposure of the crew to zero-g.

Letter, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht and R. S. Johnston, MSC, to NASA Skylab Program Director, "Skylab Mobile Laboratories," 1 September 1972.


September 1

An MSC team was conducting tests with the rescue mission configured Skylab command module at KSC. Purpose of the test was to evaluate the equipment, techniques, and procedures involved in the egress required by a five-man command module loading. Navy and Air Force helicopters were participating in the test.

KSC, "Weekly Progress Report," 1 September 1972.


September 6-7

A special ceremony at McDonnell Douglas, Huntington Beach, marked completion of the OWS, the main section of the Skylab space station. The OWS, with a volume equivalent to that of a five-room house, was being readied for shipment to Cape Kennedy aboard the USNS Point Barrow. The trip would take 13 days.


Orbital Workshop turnover meeting at McDonnell Douglas

Officials present at the Orbital Workshop turnover at McDonnell Douglas, Huntington Beach, included, left to right, Willis B. Shapley, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator; Casper Weinberger, Director of the Office of Management and Budget; James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator; Eberhard F. M. Rees, MSFC Director; Walter F. Burke, McDonnell Douglas; and Dale D. Myers, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight.


[280] Casper Weinberger, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator, attended the completion ceremony. Among officials who attended were William C. Schneider, Skylab Program Director; Eberhard F. M. Rees, MSFC Director; Leland F. Belew, MSFC Skylab Program Director; William Simmons, Jr., MSFC Workshop Manager; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC Skylab Program Manager; Robert C. Hock, KSC Skylab Program Manager; and Walter J. Kapryan, Director of Kennedy Launch Operations.

Also attending were Walter F. Burke, President of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company; Raymond A. Pepping, Vice President-General Manager, Skylab; Fred J. Sanders; Program Manager Skylab/Orbital Workshop; E. T. Kisselberg, Program Manager-Skylab Airlock, and California Congressmen Alphonzo Bell and Barry Goldwater, Jr.

MSFC, "Skylab Program Office Weekly Activity Report," 12 September 1972; "Minutes of OWS-1 Pre-delivery Turnover Report Board Meeting," 6 September 1972; TWX, O. S. Tyson, MSFC, to Dist., "OWS-1 Shipment," 8 September 1972.


September 15

A Skylab Mission Operations design Certification review was held at MSC. Representatives from NASA Hq, MSFC, MSC, KSC, Goddard Space Flight Center, Lewis Research Center, North American Rockwell, and Martin Marietta attended. The agenda contained such items as mission characteristics affecting flight operations, flight control team structure, major unique mission tasks, flight crew training program, and manned safety assessment and operations. The design certification review board certified the adequacy of planning and preparations for all mission operational requirements for Skylab, based upon the findings of the review, and contingent upon the satisfactory closeout of the open items.

"Minutes of the Skylab Mission Operations DCR," 15 September 1972; letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Skylab Mission Operations Design Certification Review," 16 October 1972.


September 22

The Skylab Apollo telescope mount arrived at the KSC skid strip aboard a Guppy aircraft. The ATM, which had been at MSC since mid-July, was immediately moved to the Operations and Checkout Building in KSC's industrial area and placed in the cleanroom for intensive checkout. The ATM was scheduled to be moved in January 1973 to the Vehicle Assembly Building for mating with the OWS atop the two-stage Saturn V launch vehicle. The Skylab orbital assembly- consisting of the OWS, the ATM, and the AM/MDA-was scheduled to be launched from Pad A of Launch Complex 39 in late April 1973.

KSC News Release 270-72, 26 September 1972.


September 23

The Skylab 1 Orbital Workshop was offloaded from a NASA barge and moved into the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at KSC. The OWS had arrived the preceding day (22 September) aboard the Point Barrow at...



photo of astronauts training on differnet components of the Skylab

The Skylab 2 crew participated in a series of simulation exercises in the MSC Simulation and Astronaut Training Facility. The simulations, which ended 20 September 1972, included: above, Joseph P. Kerwin at the Apollo telescope mount console; right, Kerwin in the human vestibular function experiment (M131) chair with Paul J. Weitz recording the results at the right of the picture and Charles Conrad, Jr., in the background riding the bicycle ergonometer; and, bottom right, Conrad installating film in the Earth Resources Experiment Package, located in the multiple docking adapter.


[282] ....Port Canaveral, where it was transferred to a smaller barge for the journey through the locks, up the Banana River, and through the access canal to the barge unloading area at the VAB. Following preliminary checkout, the OWS, with its 361.4 cu m of living and working area, was scheduled to be mated to the twostage Saturn V launch vehicle on 28 September.

KSC News Release 270-72, 26 September 1972.


September 25

An Apollo telescope mount turnover review board meeting was held at MSFC with representatives from NASA Hq, KSC, MSC, and MSFC in attendance. There were no constraints to shipment from MSFC or KSC acceptance of the ATM. No action items were assigned.

"Minutes of Meeting," 25 September 1972; letter, R. Ise, MSFC, to Dist., "ATM Turnover Review Board Minutes," 11 October 1972.


September 26

A news conference was held at MSC on the Skylab medical evaluation altitude test, which had ended 20 September. The test had brought together a multidisciplinary team from the Life Sciences, the Flight Operations, and Flight Crew Operations Directorates in a dress rehearsal for the Skylab missions. The tests had exercised the procedures and the data management, reduction, and arrangement into format for use in making decisions that would be needed in the Skylab flights. Data to date indicated there would be no significant changes in the functioning of the human body in the environment of Skylab. Some hardware problems included the urine volume measuring system, the metabolic analyzer, the sleep monitoring system, and food packaging. None of these, however, posed any threat to the Skylab flight.

SMEAT press conference, 26 September 1972.


September 26

Agreements were reached between the Office of Applications and the Office of Manned Space Flight on the management and conduct of the EREP project assigned to Skylab. EREP was one element of an Earth resources survey program designed to demonstrate the feasibility of using remote sensing in the solution of resources problems. Other elements of the Earth resources survey program included ERTS, Earth resources aircraft program, ground truth studies, and supporting research and technology programs.

Memorandum of understanding for EREP management, Charles W. Mathews and Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, 26 September 1972.


September 28

CSM 119 would be utilized in a dual role: as a spacecraft rescue vehicle for the Skylab Program and later for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. However, CSM 111 would continue to be the primary Apollo- Soyuz Test Project spacecraft.

Letter, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, 28 September....




photo of the Skylab being moved by crane at the test facility

The multiple docking adapter, a major experiment control center for the nation's first manned space station, moves through the air suspended from a crane during tests at the Martin Marietta facility at Denver. The pier of the space station, it contains two ports where Apollo command modules can dock. In the picture at left, engineers are shown testing the 7000 electrical connections and 9.3 km of wiring before the unit was flown to the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis for mating and tests with the airlock module. -Martin Marietta photo.



....1972; memorandum, Dale D. Myers to Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., "Storage and Utilization of Apollo Command and Service Modules," 30 October 1972.


September 28

Representatives of MSFC, MSC, McDonnell Douglas, and Martin Marietta attended an AM/MDA engineering walkaround inspection in St. Louis. The general quality of the flight module was found to be acceptable.

Letter, J. A. Chambers, MSFC, and W. H. Douglas, MSC, to Managers, Skylab Program, MSC, KSC, and MSFC, "AM- MDA Engineering Walkaround Inspection," 25 October 1972.


October 2

An agreement was issued which defined the policy and responsibilities of KSC and MSC for the control of MSC-licensed radioactive material designated for launch support and flight at KSC. The agreement was approved by Kenneth S. Kleinknecht and O. G. Morris (MSC) and R. C. Hock (KSC).

"MSC/KSC Subagreement on Control of MSC-Licensed Radioactive Material for Apollo and Skylab Programs," 2 October 1972, letter, R. C. Hock to Dist., same subject, 2 October 1972.


October 2-3

A modules and experiments design certification review was convened at MSFC. Representatives from NASA Hq, MSC, MSFC, KSC, Ames Research Center, LaRC, Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, various NASA contractors, and Principal Investigators attended. Purpose of the review was to assess and certify that the design of the OWS, MDA, payload shroud, AM, and ATM met Skylab requirements for performance, reliability, and safety.

"Minutes of the MSFC Modules and Experiments Design Certification Review," 2-3 October 1972; letters, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Skylab MSFC Modules and Experiments Design Certification Review," 11 December 1972; Kenneth [284] S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to Skylab Program Director, "Design Certification Status," 15 November 1972.


October 3-29

The first major test of the OWS-the meteoroid shield deployment-was started 3 October at KSC. Problems were encountered with improperly torqued deployment torsion bars and latch failure in the open position. One torsion bar was replaced and the others retorqued. The meteoroid shield was successfully deployed on 22 October when three out of four latches worked, and it was judged acceptable for flight. By 29 October all work had been completed, and the meteoroid shield was placed in flight configuration.

KSC, "Skylab 1 Post-Launch Report," 8 June 1973, p. 2-8.


October 6

NASA Hq authorized MSC to acquire a computer to perform data acquisition, monitoring, and storage of postflight medical experiments in the Skylab mobile laboratory.

Letters, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, 11 August 1972; M. K. Wible, NASA Hq, to MSC Director, "ADP Acquisition Plan for a Computer System to Monitor Post Flight Medical Data in the Skylab Mobile Laboratory," 6 October 1972; memorandum, G. M. Truszynski, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, 5 October 1972.


Skylab and the multiple docking adaptor are assembled together on a work stand

The Skylab 1 airlock module and multiple docking adapter are moved to the work stand at Kennedy Space Center.


October 10

[285] Experience gained during the design and development of the Skylab Program showed that contamination and its control required considerable attention during development and test phases and during flight operations; therefore, it was recommended that the Space Shuttle Program give consideration to the establishment of a full-time group of qualified personnel to handle the subject of contamination.

Memorandum, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Acting Director, Space Shuttle Program, "Contamination Control on Skylab as it relates to Shuttle," 10 October 1972.


October 11

A cluster communications compatibility meeting was held at MSC. Representatives from MSFC, Goddard Space Flight Center, and MSC attended. Purpose was to review the status of testing AM and ATM communications systems. AM audio and television systems were nearly complete. ATM telemetry and command systems were complete.

MSFC, "Weekly Activity Report," 24 October 1972; letter, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, to Director, Skylab Program, "Skylab Communications Operational and Compatibility Testing," 16 October 1972.


October 18

The test report on the Skylab medical evaluation altitude test which ended 20 September noted that potential hardware problems had been recognized, but that early recognition afforded time for analysis and resolution before use of the hardware in the Skylab missions. A higher degree of confidence had been gained in the ability of the medical hardware to support the Skylab objectives. Skylab flight control personnel and Principal Investigators participated in the test under simulated manned space flight network conditions to evaluate support required for actual missions and to note where improvement could be made. Safety, reliability, and quality assurance personnel were exposed as a team to the integrated performance of Skylab medical hardware and would develop their overall plan to support actual missions.

"SMEAT Test Report," 18 October 1972.


October 19

A Skylab cluster systems design certification review was conducted at MSFC with representatives from NASA Hq, MSFC, KSC, Lewis Research Center, and MSC. Contractor representatives included Martin Marietta, McDonnell Douglas, TRW, IBM, and Bendix Corporation. The review concluded the flight hardware and systems design certification effort which had begun earlier in the summer. All hardware was certified for flight with the closing out of identified open items.

"Minutes of the Cluster Systems DCR Held at MSFC," 19 October 1972; memorandum, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Dist., "Skylab Cluster Systems Design Certification Review," 15 December 1972.


October 25

The multiple docking adapter backup flight unit was delivered to McDonnell Douglas following an acceptance review at Martin Marietta Corporation, Denver.

[286] The unit would be mated with the airlock backup flight unit and checked out to ensure readiness to support the Skylab I launch.

MSFC, "Skylab Weekly Activity Report," 31 October 1972.



Skylab airlock module/multiple
docking adapter being removed from giant air transport plane

The Skylab airlock module/multiple docking adapter is shown during offloading procedures at Cape Kennedy's Skid Strip, after arrival on the Super Guppy aircraft.


November 1

In the exchange of a series of letters which began earlier in the year, the directors of various NASA Centers agreed that some scientific and technical management functions for the EREP would be accomplished by Centers other than MSC.

Letters, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to H. Mark, Ames Research Center, E. F. M. Rees, MSFC, J. F. Clark, Goddard Space Flight Center, K. H. Debus, KSC, E. M. Cortright, LaRC, and B. Lundin, Lewis Research Center, 18 April 1972; E. F. M. Rees to C. C. Kraft, Jr., 1 May 1972; H. Mark to C. C. Kraft, Jr., 2 May 1972; J. F. Clark to C. C. Kraft, Jr., 12 May 1972; K. H. Debus to C. C. Kraft, Jr., 16 May 1972; E. M. Cortright to C. C. Kraft, Jr., 23 May 1972; B. Lundin to C. C. Kraft, Jr., 16 May 1972; C. C. Kraft, Jr., to E. M. Cortright, 1 November 1972; C. C. Kraft, Jr., to B. Lundin, 7 November 1972; C. C. Kraft, Jr., to H. Mark, 7 November 1972; C. C. Kraft, Jr., to K. H. Debus, 14 November 1972; E. F. M. Rees to C. C. Kraft, Jr., 1 December 1972; H. Mark to C. C. Kraft, Jr., 4 December 1972.


November 9

Representative examples of guidelines for the Skylab crews included:

"Minutes, Manned Space Flight Management Council Meeting," 8-9 November 1972.


November 15

Restrictions were placed on the dissemination and use of certain Skylab telemetry data known as Skylab medical data. These restrictions were defined, and agreement was reached on the method of processing the data to conform to the restrictions imposed.

"MSC/MSFC Inter-Center Agreement on Skylab Medical Data," 15 November 1972.


November 17

The Skylab mission crew patches were approved by the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight.

Letters, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, updated; Dale D. Myers to Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., 24 November 1972.


November 18

The Department of the Army agreed to extend the loan of six expandable medical units to NASA until January 1974. The units would be used to assist in maintaining the integrity of the Skylab medical experiments during the immediate postflight periods.

Letters, R. S. Johnston, MSC, to S. J. Turnbull, Department of the Army, 18 November 1972; S. J. Turnbull to R. S. Johnston, 5 December 1972.


November 21

NASA Hq published instructions defining the review procedure and requirements for the flight readiness review which would be conducted before each Skylab mission. Each review would cover the readiness assessment of the CSM, AM, MDA, ATM, OWS, payload shroud, launch vehicle, ground support equipment, launch complex, launch support, all operational elements, flight experiments, all [288] software including computer programs, and all safety and emergency provisions and procedures. In short, the review would assess the suitability of a particular space vehicle for a scheduled flight mission assignment, as well as the readiness of the operational elements required to support the mission.

Skylab Program Directive No. 59, "Skylab Flight Readiness Reviews," 21 November 1972.


November 24

The Skylab debris situation was reviewed with emphasis on the S-IVB stages of Skylab 2, 3, and 4. It was decided that the S-IVB for these missions would be deorbited into the Pacific Ocean on an early revolution. The deorbit would be achieved by controlled venting of the S-IVB, dumping propellants through the main engine to provide sufficient retrovelocity for reentry. The capability to perform the deorbit would be evaluated and determined during flight; however, execution of the maneuver would be controlled from the ground. (The deorbit technique was the same used on early Earth-orbit Apollo missions.)

Memoranda, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Deorbit of SIVB Stages," 20 November 1972; Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, to the Administrator, "Skylab Program, Deorbit of SIVB," 28 November 1972; TWX, William C. Schneider to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, R. G. Smith and Leland F. Belew, MSFC, and R. C. Hock, KSC, "Deorbit of Skylab SIVBs," 28 November 1972.


November 30

In a number of instances in the Skylab Program, cost savings were obtained by accepting greater payload weights. Examples cited were

Memoranda, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Samples of Skylab Cost Savings at the Expense of Payload Weight," 30 November 1972 and 15 December 1972.


November 30

Nine Skylab astronauts completed a training session in the Space Environment Simulation Laboratory at MSC. Purpose of the session was to familiarize Skylab mission crews 3 and ~ with the intravehicular and extravehicular operation of the Skylab extravehicular mobility unit. Each of the astronauts participating in the training donned the Skylab life support assembly, entered the chamber B manlock, and evaluated his comfort level, flight checkout procedures, off-normal operations, and the pressure control unit caution and warning displays. The training was conducted in vacuum conditions.

"Space Environment Test Division Weekly Activity Report," 30 November-6 December 1972.


December 7

[289] Objection was voiced to a proposal that the Saturn V backup launch capability and all activities associated with it be terminated immediately following the first manned mission of Skylab. Reasons for the objection were

Letter, William C. Schneider, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Back-Up Saturn V," 7 December 1972; note, Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, to William C. Schneider, "Back-Up Saturn V," 6 September 1972.


December 8

In spite of its small crew and limited number of missions, Skylab would be an impressive facility for research in orbit. More than 3500 astronaut-hours would be allocated to the performance of 270 separate scientific and technological investigations embracing almost every field capable of utilizing the unique properties of the orbital environment. These investigations would cover astronomy; remote sensing for forestry, agriculture, water resources, oceanography, meteorology, regional planning, geology, mineral resource prospecting, and cartography; medical and physiological studies of man; cosmic ray studies and x-ray and ultraviolet astronomy; and metallurgy and materials processing.

Memorandum, Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq, to the Administrator, "Scope of Skylab Experiment Program," 8 December 1972.


December 19

President Richard M. Nixon's statement on the U.S. space program following the splashdown of Apollo 17 noted the role of Skylab: "The safe return of the command module America marks the end of one of the most significant chapters in the history of human endeavor. . . .

"The making of space history will continue, and this Nation means to play a major role in its making. Next spring, the Skylab will be put into orbit. It will be aimed not at advancing the exploration of deep space, but at gaining in space new knowledge for the improvement of life here on earth. It will help develop new methods of learning about the earth's environment and the earth's resources, and new methods of evaluating programs aimed at preserving and enhancing the resources of all the world. It will seek new knowledge about our own star, the Sun, and about its tremendous influence on our environment. Scientists aboard the Skylab will perform medical experiments aimed at a better knowledge of man's own physiology. Also, they will perform experiments aimed at developing new industrial processes utilizing the unique capabilities found in space. Skylab....



component view of the unmaned Skylab workstation and Saturn rocket

Skylab unmanned launch configuration.


....will be our first manned space station. It will be in use for the better part of a year, permitting the economy of extended usage, and laying the groundwork for further space stations. . "

Presidential Documents, 25 December 1972, p. 1788.


December 20

Michael W. Whittle, a Royal Air Force medical officer, began a tour of duty with MSC as the first of several foreign aerospace doctors who would work with U.S. scientists on Skylab. It was anticipated that aerospace doctors from West Germany, Spain, and Sweden would receive similar assignments in the near future. The doctors would be financed by their respective countries at no expense to NASA.

Letters, A. W. Frutkin, NASA Hq, to A. Hocker, Director General, European Space Research Organization et al., 10 May 1972; A. W. Frutkin to W. Harbison, Royal Air Force Staff British Embassy, 20 December 1972.


December 26

NASA Hq published instructions which defined the Skylab portion of the NASA educational program. Subjects included in the program were video documentation; teacher services; lecture demonstrations, conferences, and speaker services; curriculum resources; slide and film presentations; youth programs; and adult programs.

Skylab Program Directive No. 60, "Skylab Education Program," 26 December 1972.


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