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  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  Original plans for space shuttle and Skylab

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Author Topic:   Original plans for space shuttle and Skylab
NASAROB
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posted 11-17-2009 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NASAROB   Click Here to Email NASAROB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember reading somewhere that there were plans for an early shuttle mission to boast Skylab into a higher orbit. What were the plans for Skylab after that? I know there was talk of a 20 day Skylab 5 mission. Was it just to prevent orbital decay? Did NASA have plans to use the shuttle to carry consumables and have crews occupy Skylab.

kr4mula
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posted 11-17-2009 01:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as I know, they were going to try to keep Skylab from its uncontrolled reentry, but the shuttle program was delayed so much that the boost was impossible. The systems on Skylab, notably the reaction control system, weren't designed to be refilled, so it was unlikely they could've extended its useful life without significant modifications. This was supposedly done intentionally by the Von Braun contingent so that Skylab wouldn't threaten the then-anticipated development of a permanent space station. Of course, a limited-lifetime design was also likely cheaper and easier to build.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 11-17-2009 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Didn't (I think) Martin Marietta work on the development of a unit which would have boosted Skylab to a higher orbit? Was any significant hardware completed?

E2M Lem Man
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posted 11-17-2009 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA did not want to see Skylab die. They had plans for Skylab B (now at the Smithsonian) that called for long duration crew test missions, advanced telescopes (AKA manned Hubble) and even a docking port dedicated to Soviet Soyuz spacecraft (son of ASTP), and a special one for orbiter dockings. This is from old congressional budget request documents.

After that got chopped - many of these ideas fell to Skylab after the rescue, but these were short lived as it was realized that they could not even get up to it in time to save it. Parts of the Skylab rescue vehicle ended up in local space scrapyards - and a big chunk of it is in a friends garage!

WAWalsh
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From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
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posted 11-17-2009 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If memory serves, Fred Haise was tapped to command the mission.

Delta7
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posted 11-17-2009 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fred Haise and Jack Lousma were originally assigned as the crew of STS-3, the original Skylab revisit mission. A booster carried aloft in Columbia's payload bay was to have been attached to Skylab's main docking port via the Teleoperator Unit, and later fired to either re-boost the Orbital Workshop or de-orbit it in a more predictable and controlled manner. That plan was canceled when it became apparent that the Shuttle wouldn't be ready to fly in time to prevent it's orbital decay and re-entry.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 11-17-2009 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And I recall Haise saying when the Skylab reboost mission went by the wayside that he was no longer interested in flying STS-3. (I also remember saying if he had been tapped for STS-1, he would have stayed.)

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