Extract from the July 4, 1970 issue of Science News

Power for Skylab, Science Science, July 4, 1970

The largest solar cell system for electric power developed for a spacecraft is being finalized. The solar panel is used for workshops and components of the Skylab cluster telescope, which will be launched as space station preparers.


You think you cursed Skylab. There, astronauts made unprecedented observations of the Earth and the Sun and set new records for time spent in space – but many disasters occurred for NASA’s first space station. The launch of Skylab in May 1973 broke solar panels. Astronauts who arrived at the station for their first mission about two weeks later saved a plaque, but not without much disappointment (SN: 6/2/73, p. 352). Equipment failure occurred during the second and third missions, and NASA left the station in early 1974. Problems with the Skylab space agency were far from over, however. Despite NASA’s efforts to keep the station in orbit, the Skylab vanished from Earth’s atmosphere in 1979, with debris strewn across Western Australia. A happy person who is hurt.


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