SKYLAB DISASTERLindsay Schwendel and Darien Morrison
AGENDA• What was the purpose of Skylab?• What went wrong?• Why did Skylab fail?• What were the effects of the Skylab disaster?• How was the Skylab disaster handled?
PURPOSE OF SKYLAB• Skylab was used to study the Sun, long duration during space flights, how the human body reacted in space, to teach humans to live space, for microgravity research, and to function as a lab in orbit without the effects of Earth’s gravity.• Skylab consisted of 5 parts: • Orbital Workshop (Living workspace) • Airlock Module (Space walks) • Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) • Multiple Docking Adapter • Saturn Instrument Unit (Navigation into orbit and life support system)
WHAT WENT WRONG• SKYLAB I: 63 seconds after liftoff, a meteoroid shield ripped off, along with 2 solar panels, which prevented another panel from deploying properly. Ground Control maneuvered it to face the sun for as much electricity as possible, but since the meteoroid shield also acted as a sun shield, temperatures rose to 126˚ F.
WHAT WENT WRONG• SKYLAB II: A crew was sent to make repairs, which they did, but they had trouble making these repairs due to a lack of power and an insufficient amount of electricity for the first two weeks.
WHAT WENT WRONG• SKYLAB III: An astronaut noticed a piece of ice float by, which meant there was a leak in the engine. It was then discovered that this leak closed the isolation valves. People feared the astronauts would not return home.
WHY SKYLAB FAILED In Skylab I, the micrometeoroid shield deployed too early, causing temperatures to rise to inhabitable levels.
WHY SKYLAB FAILED• There were not enough launch ships to send crews to fix Skylab’s problems in a timely manner.• Skylab did not fail the way it was meant to, but the effects of its failure were minimized with the maintenance from Skylab II and III.
HOW THE SKYLAB DISASTER WAS HANDLED• To solve the micrometeoroid shield problem from Skylab I, a manned crew (Skylab 2) was sent to install a solar shield to cool the inside temperatures.• Continued in-flight maintenance issues from Skylab I were repaired by Skylab II, III, and IV, all different manned missions serving different initial experimentation purposes.
THE EFFECTS OF THE SKYLAB DISASTER• Skylab ultimately cost $3.6 billion and never recovered to its initial conditions.• Over 300 experiments were performed in orbit to demonstrate the effects of life in space.• The total number of days Skylab spent in orbit was 2249, over 6 years.• After the first four missions were deemed unsuccessful, two previously planned missions were cancelled.• Once the crew returned safely to Earth, was shut down, and it fell back to Earth in 1977, leaving debris in the Indian Ocean near Western Australia.
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