Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 44

Skylab 2

USA

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  25.05.1973
Launch time:  13:00 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral (KSC)
Launch pad:  39-B
Altitude:  415 - 424 km
Inclination:  50.04°
Docking Skylab:  26.05.1973, 21:56:00 UTC
Undocking Skylab:  22.06.1973, 08:55 UTC
Landing date:  22.06.1973
Landing time:  13:49 UTC
Landing site:  25° 45' N, 127° 2' W

walkout photo

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Conrad  Charles, Jr. "Pete"  CDR 4 28d 00h 50m  404 
2  Kerwin  Joseph Peter  PLT 1 28d 00h 50m  404 
3  Weitz  Paul Joseph  CMP 1 28d 00h 50m  404 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Conrad
2  Kerwin
3  Weitz

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Schweickart  Russell Louis "Rusty"  CDR
2  Musgrave  Franklin Story  PLT
3  McCandless  Bruce II  CMP

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Support Crew

  Surname Given names
 Crippen  Robert Laurel "Crip"
 Truly  Richard Harrison "Dick"
 Hartsfield  Henry Warren, Jr. "Hank"
 Thornton  William Edgar

Flight

Launch from Cape Canaveral (KSC); landing 1320 km southwest of San Diego in the Pacific Oecean.

This mission carried out the first crew of the Skylab space station. The flight became a "rescue mission" for the overheated space station, which had been damaged at its launch. Launched on May 25, 1973, the first Skylab crew's most urgent job was to repair the space station. Skylab's meteorite-and-sun shield and one of its solar arrays had torn loose during launch, and the remaining primary solar array was jammed. Without its shield, Skylab baked in the sunshine. The crew had to work fast, because high temperatures inside the workshop would release toxic materials and ruin on-board film and food

As Charles Conrad flew their Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) near the station, Paul Weitz unsuccessfully attempted to deploy the surviving solar array from the CSM's hatch while Joseph Kerwin held onto his legs. The astronauts found that their tools were inadequate, and had to use a backup method to dock the CSM to Skylab after several other methods failed. From inside, they deployed a collapsible parasol with telescoping rods as a replacement sunshade. The fix worked, and temperatures inside dropped low enough for the crew's comfort.

EVAs: Paul Weitz on May 25, 1973 (0h 35m) (first attempt to release to the solar panel - failed), Charles Conrad and Joseph Kerwin on June 07, 1973 (3h 23m) (successful release of the solar panel), Charles Conrad and Paul Weitz on June 19, 1973 (1h 36m) (replacement of film cartridges for solar camera). Substantial repairs, including deployment of a parasol sunshade, which brought the temperatures down to tolerable levels. Solar astronomy and Earth resources experiments and medical studies were performed. The sunshade had been built within 7 days.

For nearly a month they made further repairs to the workshop, conducted medical experiments, gathered solar and Earth science data, and performed a total of 392 hours of experiments. The mission tracked two minutes of a large solar flare with the Apollo Telescope Mount; they took and returned some 29,000 frames of film of the sun. The Skylab 2 astronauts spent 28 days in space, which doubled the previous U.S. record.

The recovery ship was the USS Ticonderoga.

Photos / Drawings

Skylab
crew in training crew in training
Conrad in training
Earth observation

more Earth observation photos


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Last update on October 06, 2014.