Library Index » Science Encyclopedia » Space Organizations Part 1: NASA - A New Agency Is Born, Peaceful Versus Military Purposes, Nasa Shoots For The Moon, Space Science Suffers

Space Organizations Part 1: NASA - Nasa's First Space Station

program skylab apollo days

As early as the 1960s NASA made plans to put a manned space station in orbit around Earth. These plans took center stage at the agency when the Apollo program ended. For its next great project NASA envisioned an orbiting space station devoted to scientific research and a fleet of reusable space planes to carry humans to and from the station. In 1969 neither newly-elected President Richard Nixon nor the U.S. Congress were interested in extending the Apollo program, let alone pursuing a new and costly endeavor. NASA found its budget cut year after year. Nevertheless, the agency devoted many of its resources to developing a new manned space program.

The first step was the temporary Skylab space station. This was a small scientific laboratory and solar observatory that could hold three crewmembers at a time. Three separate crews visited and lived on Skylab between May 1973 and February 1974. The first mission lasted twenty-eight days, the second fifty-nine days, and the last mission was eighty-four days in length. The Skylab program saved money by using rockets and spacecraft components left over from the Apollo program. Skylab was considered key to gathering data on the effects on humans of prolonged weightlessness and space flight. The United States lagged behind the Soviet Union in this area. The first Soviet space station (Salyut 1) was put into orbit two years before Skylab.

Space Organizations Part 1: NASA - The Shuttle Program [next] [back] Space Organizations Part 1: NASA - Space Science Suffers

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or