Before there was an International Space Station, there was Skylab.

With three manned missions from 1973 and 1974, Skylab laid the groundwork for long-term space missions and the opportunity to do real scientific experiments in space. Skylab 2 astronauts, Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz and Joseph Kerwin were the first crew to arrive. The Skylab 1 designation was the unmanned launch of the Skylab orbital workshop itself.

From Wikipedia… The station was damaged at launch when the micrometeoroid shield separated from the station and tore away, depriving the station of most of its power, removing protection from intense solar heating, and threatening to make the station unusable. The first crew was able to save it in the first ever in-space major repair, by deploying a replacement heat shade and freeing the single remaining, jammed main solar array.

The Command Module that brought the astronauts home is proudly on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.


The Command Module that brought the Skylab 2 astronauts home is proudly on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.