Image of the Day: Farewell to Skylab


The United States launched Skylab in 1973. It was our first space station, and it was big: NASA basically replaced all of the stuff on top of the Saturn V moon rocket (the stuff required to get to the Moon and back, in other words) with a big empty can, and sent it into orbit. This created a huge interior space for astronauts to play around in:

Looks like fun, right? The International Space Station has nothing like this.

Skylab hosted three separate crews of astronaut in 1973 and 1974. The last group of departed on February 8, 1974 and took the photo at the top of this article. NASA had all sorts of plans to use the pending brand new space shuttle to boost the station to a higher orbit and refurbish and expand it. But, the shuttle wasn't ready in time, and for lack of a realistic plan, Skylab was allowed to make a mostly uncontrolled re-entry and large bits of it ended up in Australia, which turned around and fined NASA $400 for littering.

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