Learn about the Skylab 3 mission and how astronauts lived in the space shuttle.
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The Story Behind Skylab III Mission Skylab, an orbiting workshop in space. After two successful man missions, NASA was about to embark on the third and longest. A mere 6 days after the return of the second mission, the third was ready to proceed. With astronauts card gives on Apollo as crew it would also approve to be a highly ambitious project. Special cameras were designed for the earth resources experiments to be performed, the technical nature of which highlighted importance of having men in space. Photos were taken of the earth in visible and near infrared ranges resulting in countless discoveries both of manmade areas and natural phenomenon. This photograph of a hurricane revealed that the walls around the eyes slope inwards actually feeding energy into it, a self propagating feature previously unknown. Agricultural images were used to measure yield, soil moisture and crop infestation. Images from desert area in Africa allowed discoveries as to the extent of damage caused by drought and incorrect cultivation methods. Valuable discoveries were also made in the field of geology to help locate natural resources, minerals and oil. Faults and changes and plate motions of the earth never before seen by men were observed and studied. As were images of many forest, oceanography the study of current flows and edges received an enormous boost with previously unseen images. Coastal photos were also employed as aids to ship navigation to lessen the chance of damage to ships and their cargo. An area such as this in South America, were mapped accurately for the first time ever. And while the cameras do its work, life in the Skylab went on. The comforts of home were not neglected as astronauts could take weekly showers and if they could find a foot hold, wash and shave. And even prepare their own food to individual tastes, no more just eating out of a tube as on earlier space flights. Crewmen enjoyed space luxuries never available before. Even men sleep was monitored by a cap with sensors as each astronaut bedded down vertically in a kind of sleeping back in its individual sleeping compartment. Determining weight in a weightless world is a real problem, with no gravity there’s no weight so normal scales can’t be used since many of the biomedical experiments require these measurement, this odd looking chair was devised and used to keep a careful check on the weight of the astronauts. Small masses were also measured on a device so sensitive it could determine the weight of a postage stamp. The next time you do push ups, try this. It was quite a chore when the astronauts got ready to go outside for a space work. The Skylab crews spent 21 and a half hours outside the workshop in space walks changing and retrieving film, making observations and repairing equipment. As an all three missions, each observation continued while Skylab sent its most of its work on the practical uses of space it’s crew didn’t neglect precious opportunities to enrich sciences knowledge. Cameras zeroed in on promising targets of opportunity of which the most notable was this comet. Skylab solar telescopes plus two space walks with portable cameras gained amazing results. The Skylab instruments were the only means available for scientist anywhere to observe the comet during its closed passage to the sun as this stop motion film shows. The fact that the astronauts were able to observe the comet at this time and even make sketches proves scientifically valuable in collecting a wealth of data needed in making the greatest advances in cometary research since Halley’s time. The Skylab Christmas in space and of course that included stockings hanged by a very unusual Christmas tree that was painstakingly constructed out of food cans and decorated by the astronauts with the comet at the top and this message as well of goodwill to all the people of the earth so far away. After setting a new record of 84 days in space, the third manned Skylab mission ended with a splash down i