Table 2-48. Skylab I Characteristics


Date of launch (ETR launch complex):

May 14, 1973 (39A)

Spacecraft/mission designation:

Skylab 1

Launch vehicle designation (class):

SA-513 (Saturn V)

Spacecraft weight (kg):

Apollo Telescope Mount

= 11181

Airlock Module

= 22 226

Multiple Docking Adapter

= 6260

Orbital Workshop

= 35 380

Instrument Unit

= 2041


= 77 088

Spacecraft shape, dimensions (m):

Orbital Workshop

cylindrical with 2 rectangular solar panels

diameter, 6.58

length, 14.6

habitable volume, 295.26 cu m

Airlock Module:


diameter, 6.55

length, 5.36

Multiple Docking Adapter:


diameter, 3.05

length, 5.27

habitable volume, 32.33 cu m

Apollo Telescope Mount:

octagonal with 4 solar arrays

diameter, 3.35

height, 4.44

Instrument Unit:


diameter, 6.6

height, .914

Apogee/perigee at insertion (km):

431.5 x 433.7

No. of orbits:

34 981


approx. 93 min.


July 11, 1979

Length of mission:

actively used 8 mos., 24 days (until Feb. 8, 1974)

in orbit 6 yrs., 1 mo., 27 days (until July 11, 1979)


Mission calendar (date, time):


launch of Skylab workshop

May 14, 1973

1:30 p.m. EDT

launch of Skylab 2 crew

May 25, 1973

9:00 a.m. EDT

return of Skylab 2 crew

June 22, 1973

9:49:48 a.m. EDT

launch of Skylab 3 crew

July 28, 1973

7:10:50 a.m. EDT

return of Skylab 3 crew

Sept. 25, 1973

6:19:54 p.m. EDT

launch of Skylab 4 crew

Nov. 16, 1973

9:01:23 a.m. EST

return of Skylab 4 crew

Feb. 8, 1974

10:16:54 a.m. EST

reentry of Skylab workshop

July 11, 1979

11:37 a.m. EST

Distance traveled:

1.5 bill km

Earth reentry footprint:

a narrow band (approx. 4° wide) beginning at about 48°S, 87°E and ending at about 12°S, 144°E, over the Indian and Western Australia (debris found between Esperance and Rawlinna, 31-34°S, 122-126°E)

Mission objectives:

To place in earth orbit a laboratory to be visited by three Apollo crews. The program was established to determine man's ability to live and work in space for extended periods, to determine and evaluate man's physiological responses and aptitudes in a space environment and his post-flight adaption to the terrestrial environment, to extend the science of solar astronomy beyond the limits of earth-based observations, to develop improved techniques for surveying earth resources from space, and to expand knowledge in a variety of other scientific and technological regimes.


The laboratory was placed in the desired orbit, but during launch the meteoroid shield was torn off, which led to one of the workshop solar panels being torn off and the second one becoming jammed. The result was an increased heat load inside the workshop. The first crew to visit Skylab erected a parasol to protect the workshop's exposed areas from direct sunlight. Three crews (nine astronauts) visited Skylab over the next nine months, staying from 28 to 84 days and conducting a wide range of scientific experiments. The crewmen did not suffer physically or psychologically from their long visits. See also tables 2-49, through 2-51).

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