Skylab 3

Forty years ago today — July 28, 1973 — the second manned mission to the Skylab station was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on a Saturn 1B rocket.


(Skylab in its low Earth orbit. NASA image.)

The Skylab 3 crew — Alan L. Bean, Owen K. Garriott, and Jack R. Lousma — spent 59 days aboard the station. They installed a solar shield and did other station maintenance, and performed many solar and Earth observation experiments.

Skylab 3 is sometimes referred to as Skylab II, due to miscommunication about the mission numbering. The first Skylab mission, Skylab 1, was actually the mission that placed the station itself in orbit.

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Ten years later, on this date in 1983, the Telstar 3A communications satellite was launched on a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral. This was the first operational Telstar owned by AT&T; previously, AT&T had leased satellites.

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