How It All Turned Out: Results

How did it all turn out? All nine astronauts returned to Earth safely, and all but one are alive and well, over three decades later. The exception is Pete Conrad, who was healthy and vigorous until his tragic death in a motorcy­cle accident in 1999. But did the Skylab team accomplish their goals? Did they measure the right things and measure them accurately? Were they able to draw conclusions? And did they discover what’s needed to keep people well and effective in space?

First, all the equipment worked. Food was consumed, uneaten items logged, supplement pills taken. Urine was sampled and frozen; feces were proper­ly processed and dried; both were correctly returned. Exercise was accom­plished once it was learned how; oxygen consumption and vital signs were duly recorded. Lower body negative pressure and rotating chair devices did not fail. Nine men were measured as never before. And it’s a good thing they were because NASA remained conservative and skeptical till the end. Dur­ing the final flight, the NASA administrator required a weekly report—on Wednesdays, and in writing—that the crew was in good condition and cer­tified to go another week.

In spaceflight, the first symptom to show up is usually space motion sick­ness. The term was bowdlerized to “space adaptation syndrome” by some thoughtful researchers, but some irreverent crewmen called it dreaded space motion sickness, or “dsms” for short. It’s a lot like seasickness, and a severe case can make you miserable. A problem with treating motion sickness is that if you are already sick and take a pill, you’re likely just to throw it up. Shuttle crewmembers who get spacesick are now given injections to con­trol their symptoms. The drug, promethazine, is quite effective but makes you sleepy.

The odd thing is that a person’s susceptibility to motion sickness on Earth has no predictive value in space. You can be quite sensitive in boats or cars and never have a quiver while weightless, or the reverse. But repeated flights tend to diminish the severity of the illness. And after it goes away, usually in three or four days, zero-G is a lot of fun.

The Skylab I crew had no space adaptation syndrome during flight. Ker – win got seasick after splashdown and threw up in sickbay on the carrier, but seasickness was not unusual for him. The most surprising finding was that the rotating chair experiment showed that the crew was immune to motion sickness in flight once they had adapted. Kerwin said, “I think life on a rotating spacecraft will be easier than I thought.”

Once they learned how to ride the bicycle ergometer in zero-G, their per­formance matched their preflight levels. In between medical runs, Conrad exercised the most, Kerwin the least. In contrast with exercise, the lower body negative pressure experiment was much more stressful right from the

first run. Heart rates were higher, blood pressures dropped, and several runs were terminated early to make sure the subject didn’t pass out. Kerwin was the most susceptible. This was a concern early in the flight, but subsequent runs showed no further deterioration in performance.

Those three experiments were the main source of in-flight data on adap­tation — or deterioration—and the overall picture looked good. Also the crew ate well, slept well, and felt well. The physical work involved in their spacewalks gave them no trouble. Twenty-eight days in space seemed quite feasible. How would they react to gravity after landing?

Here are the basic findings. The crew had lost an average of 7.5 pounds of weight. They were unsteady and walked with feet wide apart. They were most comfortable lying down. Standing heart rate was 30 percent high­er than preflight. Ability to exercise on the treadmill was correspondingly lower; each of those heartbeats was moving less blood through their arter­ies. Treadmill performance on landing day did correlate with in-flight exer­cise; Conrad did best, while Kerwin was too tired to use the ergometer at all until the next morning. Response to the first lower body negative pres­sure test was just about the same as to the last in-flight test — worse than preflight. Blood tests showed that blood volume was down, and the num­ber of circulating red cells was smaller by 14 percent—the bone marrow was not producing them at all. Finally, postflight strength measurements on the arm and leg muscles showed big decrements.

Return to normal was relatively rapid. The crewmen ate and drank vig­orously after their first good night’s sleep, and much of the weight loss had been restored by the fifth day back. Performance on the lbnp and ergom­eter was close to normal preflight limits in a week, and completely normal in three weeks. Full leg strength returned more slowly, depending on what exercise the men chose to perform.

Some questions remained. Their bone marrow didn’t start to produce red cells again until about three weeks after landing. Imaging wasn’t sensi­tive enough to show visible bone loss, but examination of the returned urine and feces showed that they were losing calcium steadily with no sign of lev­eling off. The in-flight cardiovascular data from lbnp could be interpret­ed as “not yet steady state.” And the large losses in arm and especially leg strength were a sign that the crew hadn’t exercised enough. The next crew was strongly urged to do more.

Skylab 11, unlike their predecessors, faced space adaptation syndrome on Mission Day i. Lousma was most affected and vomited that evening. Bean and Garriott felt nausea; all three took Scop-Dex capsules on Day 2 to sup­press the symptoms, and Garriott and Lousma continued this medication on Day 3. Garriott and Bean tried making head movements to hasten their adaptation but decided they were not helpful. All were well enough for full duty by Day 4.

Initial adaptation issues aside, this crew’s in-flight experience was similar to that of the first crew. The big change was that they performed more exer­cise and did not allow exercise time to be preempted by other tasks as the first crew sometimes had. They launched with two additional exercise devic­es. After seeing the first crew’s strength losses, Bill Thornton got permission from Deke Slayton to add capability, with strict weight and volume limi­tations. (Exercise was still an operational responsibility.) Bill looked every­where for candidates, and found the Mini-Gym in John Rummel’s back room. He rebuilt it with help from center engineering and flight-qualified it. It was designed to produce “isotonic” loads on the back and legs, and was used faithfully by the crew during longer daily exercise periods. The other device was an “expander” from Sears, consisting of up to four springs with handles that could be used in various combinations. (The Russians cop­ied this device and used it in their Soyuz program for many years.) These devices largely solved the upper-body problem. The second crew also had a device to measure blood hemoglobin levels, to reassure the doctors that loss of red cells was not continuing.

Skylab II returned to Earth on 25 September 1973 at nineteen past one in the afternoon, and the Command Module was picked up by the uss New Orleans forty-four minutes later. Here’s some conversation between the crew­members and the crew Flight Surgeon, Dr. Paul Buchanan, as they pre­pared to egress:

Bean: “We’re going to have to be careful; as I said, I was dizzy. Better stick with me. But I feel like if I could move around, just sit up, and maybe the dizziness would go away.”

Garriott (who had already left his couch and taken the pulse of his crewmates): “I don’t think it will, Al. You ought to watch for it to increase slightly. It’s likely to increase, I think.”

Buchanan (to Garriott): “Are you doing all right standing?”

Garriott: “I’m doing fine, but I can tell that any sort of motion induces the sensation of pitching or rolling, a little dizziness.”

Bean: “That’s what I thought when I just leaned up. I thought that I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out, but I did feel like—that I would be unsta­ble. . . . Let’s not leave these guys standing out here too long.”

Bean (ten minutes later, in the medical lab): “I didn’t think we’d get back feeling this good.”

They did feel good, and they recovered rapidly from the effects of their flight—Garriott fastest. Their weight losses had been for Bean, 8.6 lbs. (5.5 percent); Garriott, 7.7 lbs. (5.7 percent); and Lousma, 9.25 lbs. (4.75 percent). By “r+5,” the fifth day after landing, their lower body negative pressure and exercise tolerance tests were “within normal limits”—that is, back with­in two standard deviations of their preflight results. That’s not 100 percent recovery, but it’s impressive. After R+9, Garriott and Lousma were returned to flight status in the T-38. Bean had strained his back on r+i (showing that muscles were a little more susceptible to injury after a long flight) and didn’t get back to flying for another week or so.

Loss of strength and endurance in the legs was virtually the same for this crew as for the first crew. That was a very encouraging finding and a worth­while payoff for the additional time this crew spent on exercise (about an hour a day each). But the decrements were still on the order of 20 percent, and Bean’s crew recommended to Carr’s that they increase exercise even more on their flight, then being extended to eighty-four days.

Although legs showed a decrement with their diminished use in weight­lessness, the arms were different. They were not only used for translation around the workshop, but there were two useful exercise machines available for heavy exercise. Jack was a consistent user of this hardware and his early postflight data show an average 15 percent increase in arm strength, while his two crewmates showed little change.

And that is when Dr. Bill Thornton, who was making the strength mea­surements, invented his “Thornton treadmill.” Faced with even more strin­gent limitations on what could be launched in the Command Module, Bill Thornton and engineering built the poor man’s treadmill from a strip of slippery Teflon, which could be fastened to the Skylab floor with fasten­ers already on board. The crew placed the Teflon near a side wall with a handrail to hold on to. Wearing cotton socks and the previously discarded

ergometer waist restraint, fastened to the floor with 180 pound-force bun­gees, they canted their bodies about thirty degrees forward and “ran,” feet slipping on the Teflon surface. It was much harder work than running, but it did the trick.

The Skylab ill crew lived longer in space than anyone had before—a lot longer—and spent more time and concentration thinking about the lack of gravity and its effect on their body and their performance. For the first month they felt rushed and behind and didn’t get enough sleep. After that they settled into a productive routine. How did they feel about it? Here is what they shared during the medical debrief:

Question: “When did you think you were in control of things and every­thing was ok?”

Ed: “Somewhere between four and six weeks. At four weeks we were over the hill and I think had started to settle down and by six weeks I felt locked in solid.”

Jerry: “If you drew a graph from launch day, you would have a fully steep slope and the graph would bottom out the day the three of us bombed out on M092 (for Jerry, that was on Mission Day 16, i December). And from then on, you can chart a gradual increase with a fairly reasonable slope until prob­ably Day 45, and then you could throw a gentle knee into it. Again there’s a positive slope, and we were on the increase all the way to the end.”

How stressful was the lower body negative pressure experiment? All three men came near to fainting on tests run during the tenth to sixteenth flight day. For these tests another astronaut was always assigned as an observer, able to watch the subject’s signs and terminate the tests if warranted. The test involved subjecting the subject’s lower body to a partial vacuum. There were three steps of increasing vacuum: minus thirty, forty, and fifty milli­meters of mercury, the latter estimated to pull blood into the legs about as much as standing quietly upright in normal gravity. These tests were ter­minated early, before the end of the minus fifty exposure—probably mak­ing both crew and experimenters a little doubtful that they’d go the whole three months. But things got better from there. Gibson had only one more test stopped, on Day 71; Carr and Pogue had none. Here are some of their comments:

Ed: “I would say that thirty up there was like fifty down here. . . the amount of sleep, amount of water intake and amount of salt intake were significant [variables] for me. If I felt dehydrated or overtired, I knew I would have a problem with lbnp. . . . I’ve always felt a craving for salt on this diet.”

Bill: “And related to that, perhaps equivalent, was the time of day. . . ear­lier in the day, you felt better.”

These men could feel the fluids shift within their bodies. During lbnp they would feel less fullness in the head as their legs became engorged—and sometimes that would be followed by cold sweat and faintness. Exercise also shifted fluid into muscles, but it felt much better. So did eva.

Jerry: “But the times when I could feel the fluid shifts the most were dur­ing exercise. As soon as you got on the bike and started pedaling, your head immediately began to clear up. And by the time you finished pedaling and the blood had shifted to your muscles, you felt great. Your nose was clear, the pressure was off your sinuses, and you felt good; tired from the work, but you felt clear.

Ed: “I recall that on the first eva it felt good to get outside and do some physical work for a long period of time. It was comfortable to have a heart rate above nominal for the duration of the eva.”

In contrast, they felt periods of dullness or sleepiness during times of less activity:

Jerry: “I think that during a period of adjustment my stamina, reserve, or whatever you want to call it, was gone. I found myself essentially living from meal to meal, what we call a lowering of blood sugar, when you’re get­ting really hungry and you start feeling fatigued and tired and dull. I don’t know what it is. I call it a lowering of the blood sugar. That’s what we felt up there, but as soon as we got a meal in us we would feel much better. You feel a little drowsy after the meal, but shortly after that you feel better. But then it only takes about two to three hours for you to become tired again. The old reserve and the stamina is gone and by 3:30 in the afternoon we were hungry again, feeling bad.”

Voice: “Did all three of you feel that?”

Bill: “I feel that way, but I would have liked to snack all the time I was up there; candy bars to eat periodically. I could have used those through­out the mission.”

Jerry: “I wish I could tell you where the calories go when you’re up there.”

Ed: “I felt the same effect as Jerry mentioned. I would have liked snacks. I would have liked three meals and then snacks in between, some high-ener­gy food like Bill mentioned.”

Question: “Listening to you, I get the impression that one might suggest shorter days or naps, recharging in that manner as well as eating.”

Ed: “A siesta right about noon time would have been great.”

Question: “Could you appreciate that your legs had diminished in size?

Ed: “You could see it and I think I could feel it in my calves, after I had worked the Thornton device, for example. That really was an excellent device. I’m glad we had it along. When did we start using it, around two weeks into the mission?”

Jerry: “Yes, somewhere between Day Ten and Fourteen is when we final­ly got time to set it up and start using it.”

Ed: “And from then on, we started to turn around.”

Jerry: “I felt pre-flight that the lbnp could be used. . . to maintain con­dition. I always hoped that you would take one of us as a control and put us in it every day as part of exercise. . . use it as an exercise tool and not require. . . all the instrumentation. Just get in it every day for five or ten minutes then see what you ended up with, compared to the other two guys.”

Question: “Which of you would have volunteered to be the no-exercise, no-LBNP control?”

Jerry: “Oh, I didn’t say no exercise (laughter). We had already decided that there would be no volunteers for no exercise.”

To summarize the crew’s opinion, the lbnp didn’t do much for them, but exercise was essential. And the postflight findings certainly bore them out.

They all adapted well to the topsy-turvy world ofweightlessness. As Carr related: “The first two-thirds of the mission, my dreams were one – G dreams, and I shifted to zero-G dreams about the last third. It really surprised me that I had some zero-G dreams.” They struggled a little bit to describe the feeling of carrying one’s personal “up” and “down” around in space:

Jerry: “Looking out the window at the Earth, sometimes the horizon would be upside-down. It was convenient just to flip (my own body) upside

down and look out the window. . . [but then] every once in a while you’d look inside at one of the other guys ‘upside-down with his feet locked in the ceiling’ and he looked funny that way. And the table was upside down. It was very strange.”

Jerry: “The normal mode of moving was just to go head first, whistling right down through the dome hatch all the way to the trash airlock. [But] if I ever decided to go through the other way, feet first, I had a very distinc­tive impression that I was very high and sure didn’t want to fall and hurt myself. It’s just because I had my feet out in front of me and all of a sudden there was a reference that connoted high.”

The following table compares data from the three Skylab crews.



Food / Day

(cal /kg.)



Weight Loss Percentage *

Leg Strength % decrease

Arm Strength % decrease

28 days



4.2% (1.7%)



59 days



5.3% (1.0%)



84 days



1.6% (0.0%)



Data Comparisons of Three Skylab Crews * Figure in parentheses is additional loss during prelaunch quarantine.

Those averages hide some sizeable individual variations. On Skylab I Con­rad exercised almost twice as much as Kerwin and munched many more cal­ories per kilogram than either of his crewmates. On Skylab II Lousma was a tiger for exercise, but Garriott ate the most. And on the final mission Carr set a record by losing essentially no weight (only two tenths of a pound) in nearly three months aloft. He was only the second astronaut ever not to lose weight in space. The first was Alan Shepard, not on his fifteen-minute Mer­cury flight but on his Apollo 14 journey to the moon.

But the averages do tell the story. The story is, “Feed them, exercise them hard, and they’ll do well in space.” Or, to quote Dr. Bill Thornton: “The conclusion is that muscle in space is no different from muscle on Earth; if it is properly nourished and exercised at reasonable load levels, it will main­tain its function.”

Based on the Skylab findings, here’s a combined narrative of what you could expect to happen to your body if you took a big “grand tour” flight to Mars.

When the rattle of the booster stops and you’re in orbit, that strange feel­ing of floating will occupy your attention fully. Your head feels full, as if you had a cold. You’ve been briefed to be very slow and careful with head and body movements. You will take this good advice and feel ok—but the per­son in the next seat will suddenly feel nauseated and reach for the sick bag. The flight attendant (all are trained nurses, as in the early days of commer­cial aviation) will give your neighbor an injection, and he’ll feel a little bet­ter in the morning and be back to normal in three days or so.

Your vestibular system adapts slowly to the absence of “down” — that constant acceleration of gravity. The same absence causes body fluids to migrate from the lower extremities up into your chest and abdomen; the body responds by decreasing thirst and effectively losing fluid. Your blood becomes a little more concentrated, with a higher red cell count. Your bone marrow notices this and stops producing new red cells.

You won’t get space motion sickness, but your appetite won’t be very good for the first several days, and learning to move, eat, go to the bath­room, and sleep while floating may seem hard. On the morning of day eight you’ll wake up thinking, “Wow! I feel great today!” But you’ll have lost six pounds since the day before launch. Your legs look ridiculously skinny. The chief flight attendant now puts you on a strict exercise program for the dura­tion of the flight.

Unused muscles atrophy; exercise is needed to keep them fit, and you have to keep doing it faithfully. A treadmill keeps your heart and lungs in order and provides some leg exercise; other devices simulate weight lift­ing and tone the other big muscle groups. The compression also helps your bone retain calcium, slowing the gradual thinning of bone structure that is another feature of zero-G.

Your flight goes on for several months. Your workload is light. The novelty of looking out the window at the stars slowly wears off; you become bored. Small habits and mannerisms of one of your fellow passengers, “Herb,” begin to irritate you. Psychological stress — “cabin fever”—is definitely a risk of long spaceflights as it is of any long isolation with a small group of people. Skylab didn’t experience much of that, because the crews had been so care­fully selected and extensively trained. We hope that your Mars flight has a compatible crew and good leadership. Talk to the flight surgeon about your problems with “Herb.”

You make it through the flight with flying colors. As reentry day gets clos­er, everyone becomes excited and upbeat. You and “Herb” exchange e-mail addresses. You’ve almost forgotten what gravity feels like. Now you are about to be reminded! You survive the parachute landing at the Space Recovery Field and are helped out of the spacecraft. You don’t feel very good. Every time you move your head the world moves too, a severe vertigo. You feel as if you weigh three hundred pounds, and you walk unsteadily, with feet wide apart. Your pulse races. You feel dizzy, tired, light-headed, and thirsty.

First your vestibular system needs to readapt to the long-absent gravity vector. Your weight is only a few pounds less than when you left, but you are low on body fluids and red cells in the blood—almost as though you had bled a pint or two from a wound. And your muscles, despite the exercise (did you slack off a little the last few weeks?) are weak. A very light landing day and a very long night’s sleep start you on the road to recovery. Next morning you feel like someone getting up after a bout with the flu—a little light-headed still, but good. A period of rehabilitation, with careful, supervised exercis­es, will be prescribed for three weeks to get you back to normal.

The red cell count will be normal in a month or so. Most of the calci­um lost from your bones will eventually return. You’ll have been exposed to radiation during your trip, including cosmic rays; the amount will deter­mine whether any future threats to health exist. The lifetime limit is prob­ably one Mars trip per person.

The Skylab medical data set rigorously quantified all these changes and allowed the causes of many of them to be understood. It demonstrated the safety of three-month spaceflights sufficiently to allow NASA to plan and build the International Space Station—and incidentally to allow the Soviet Union to plan and build Mir. Both the United States and Russia have built on this data and now routinely fly for up to six months. But the strict quan­titative metabolic balance study Skylab accomplished has never been repeat­ed. It did the job. And repeating it would drive the astronauts nuts.

What Goes Up

Подпись: • • •“In April of 1982 I was lucky enough to be assigned the job of NASA senior science representative to Australia — ‘nasa Rep,’ the Aussies called it,” Joe Kerwin said. “So I got on the plane in Houston, and some twenty-two hours and three stops later dragged my weary body into the Canberra air­port terminal.

“My new secretary met me in the official Ford, and we decided to drive to the office before she deposited me at the motel. ‘This is your desk, mate.’ she said—and the phone rang. ‘Hello,’ I yawned, ‘nasa representative.’

“’G’day, mate,’ said a voice. ‘I’ve got a bit of Skylab here and was curi­ous; were you still buying them back?’ Incredible! Not in the country two hours, and Skylab, my triumph and embarrassment, had followed me there like the bottle imp.

“By the way, the chap, from a small town near Perth, didn’t have a bit of Skylab. He had a great chunk of it, an intact oxygen tank about eight feet long and well-charred. We informally certified it for him, but NASA had enough samples and didn’t want this one. As far as I know, it’s still adorning the entrance to his pub. Skylab had returned to Earth, sure enough.”

Although the Skylab program had officially been designed to include only three manned missions, there had been discussions of other possibilities, from reboosting the station to launching the second Skylab workshop. Even NASA’s space-race rivals were intrigued by the possibilities the facility offered. If representatives of the Soviet space program had had their way, a much larger-scale version of what eventually became the Apollo-Soyuz Test Proj­ect would have involved both nations’ space station programs as well.

Marshall’s George Hardy recalled that before the launch of Skylab, James Fletcher, the NASA administrator, met with the head of the Soviet space agen­cy to discuss the possibility of cooperation in the event of an emergency in

spaceflight, among other topics. “So we got an invitation to go to Russia in 1969, and Bob Gilruth was selected to head that delegation, and then my name was on there,” Hardy said. “I got selected to go because nobody really knew what the Russians wanted to talk about, and there was some possibil­ity that maybe they wanted to talk a little about Skylab, although our man­agement was not terribly interested in talking about Skylab.”

The meeting was cordial but unproductive, so it was agreed that a Soviet delegation would come back to the United States the next year for a meet­ing at msc to further discuss rescue mission cooperation. “The discussion had been very general about rescue capability—what would we need: com­mon docking systems and things like that and rendezvous capabilities and all that sort of thing,” he said. “And it was very generic discussion.

“About the third or fourth day, they came in and the head of their dele­gation opened that meeting that day and said, ‘We’d like to make a propos­al,’” Hardy said. “And he just laid out flat a proposal where there’d be two missions: one where Soyuz would come to the Skylab, and one where the Command and Service Module would go to the Salyut.”

Under the plan, the Soviets offered to host the first mission on Salyut, and then their mission would be flown to Skylab, which at that point NASA believed was about a year from launch. While the delegations were in the next session, Gilruth called headquarters, and NASA deputy administrator George Low flew to Houston. “Basically the bottom line was that we didn’t want to have a mission with them with Skylab,” Hardy said. “We didn’t want to complicate Skylab to that extent. We thought it would delay Sky – lab. Turns out Skylab was delayed anyway.”

The NASA delegation returned to the meeting with the Soviets and explained that they didn’t believe it would work out to add such a major new element to the Skylab program. There were already obligations, they explained, to principal investigators that wouldn’t allow for such a substantial change to the program timetable. The Soviet delegation agreed that was understand­able and suggested that the joint mission could be flown the with second Skylab station, which they knew had been constructed. The NASA delega­tion explained that there were neither plans nor funding for the launch of the second Skylab.

Savvy to the U. S. system of allocating budget funds on a year-to-year basis, the Soviet delegation said that they understood that the Congress hadn’t appropriated the Skylab-в funds and that they could wait until that happened. “They were told no, that wouldn’t happen,” Hardy said. No mat­ter how the NASA delegation tried to explain it, he said, the Soviets wouldn’t believe that a space agency would build an entire space station with no intent to fly it.

“They couldn’t believe it,” he said. “And it was almost like—they didn’t say this—but you kind of got the impression they were feeling like, ‘These fellows just don’t want a space station with us.’ There has to be another rea­son, and that’s the reason they would assume.”

With a trip to Skylab off the table, the talks of any sort of joint space sta­tion operation fell apart. “It just wasn’t the time for it. And once that didn’t happen, then the trip to Salyut didn’t happen either, and that’s how we end­ed up with astp,” Hardy said. “We didn’t want to go to a Russian quote, ‘space station,’ and the Russians didn’t want us to come to theirs if they couldn’t come to ours.” Though the talks about the joint space station oper­ation ultimately proved unsuccessful, Hardy said he has many vivid mem­ories of the process.

“My introduction to that, I can remember it well,” George Hardy said, “I got a call from [Marshall deputy director Eberhard] Rees. I was here doing my job, and this was one morning at ten o’ clock or something. He said, ‘Can you be in Dr. Gilruth’s office this afternoon, by three o’clock?’ I said, ‘I guess so, I’ll see. What am I going for?’ He said, ‘Well, they’ll tell you when you get there.’ That was strange. So anyway, I did; I caught a plane. I got down there; I walked in that office and introduced myself, and [the secretary] said, ‘Oh yes, Dr. Gilruth’s expecting you soon. Have you got your tickets for Moscow yet?’ And that was the first time I knew I was going to Moscow.

“I really had a good time with [Gilruth]. We were coming back from that trip over there in ’69. The State Department had briefed us, and things were pretty contentious back in those days between the two countries. One of the things they told us was typical I guess—they told everybody that went over there, don’t lock your suitcase, ’cause they’re going to open it up anyway. Don’t lock it; they’ll break the lock on it. We all tried to adhere to that, but Gilruth evidently forgot it or something. They broke in, bust­ed the lock on it.

“Here we were coming back through Heathrow Airport, and Bob Gilruth had on his cowboy boots and that ten-gallon hat. He was carrying a suit­case that was tied up with a rope around it, and he had a big bag under his arm; he’d bought a fur or something for his wife over there. It looked like Texas walking down through there.

“When they came over here there must have been twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty of them. I know they had a whole wing at the Holiday Inn down there. And they had buses to take them to the Galleria, shopping. They loved to go to the Galleria. They’d buy flashlights and flashlight batteries; that was their favorite thing to take home.”

Hardy said that he has often wondered since then what would have hap­pened if things had worked out differently. “I don’t know what that would have cost,” Hardy said of the Skylab-Salyut proposal. “I don’t know how complicated that would have been. I don’t know what the political payoff of something like that would have been, or the scientific payoff, but that would have been a real joint mission, a real joint mission.”

In fact, he said, depending on how interested the Soviets had been in the program, it might have been possible to work out an arrangement that would have allowed the second Skylab to be flown. Funding issues aside, one of the biggest issues facing a second Skylab program was the limited number of U. S. Saturn launch vehicles and Apollo spacecraft remaining. Supplement­ing those with Soyuz rockets and capsules in a cooperative program, Har­dy noted, could have opened up new possibilities. “For example, you could have used Soyuz preferentially—four of theirs to our last two Command Modules, all sorts of options,” he said, adding, “They just seemed amazed that we built an entire vehicle and wouldn’t fly it.”

Scientist astronaut Phil Chapman was a member of a committee started after Apollo 14 to study space station possibilities. He was part of a group that advocated launching the Skylab-в workshop after modifying it to make it refurbishable. “The modifications to the workshop mostly involved pro­visions for replacing consumables,” Chapman recalled. “I think the most costly change was mounting the cmgs in palettes so they could be replaced when necessary. As I recall the additional cost was about $50 million in 1970 dollars. We could have had a permanent space station in 1975 with more real utility than the iss for a total cost twenty times less. Once that was up and running, our proposal was to build a reusable crew transfer vehicle, launched initially by a Saturn IB, and then to work on a reusable flyback booster.”

Chapman said that the possibilities posed by the Space Shuttle were seen by those in charge as making this proposal unnecessary. He said that NASA’s decision to pursue the Space Shuttle was one of the principal reasons he left the astronaut corps in 1972 rather than waiting for a chance to fly.

Plans for the future utilization of the Skylab hardware were not to be. When the Skylab ill crew closed the hatch as they left, it was to be the end of the operational program. On 9 February 1974, just one day after the return of Jerry Carr’s crew, Mission Control did some final systems testing, maneu­vered Skylab to a gravity gradient attitude (perpendicular to Earth, small end up and workshop end down, an orientation in which it would wobble but remain pretty stable without the need for electrical power or propel­lants) and turned off the power.

Experts at Marshall forecast that Skylab would descend from its end-of – mission altitude (about 235 nautical miles) only very gradually. If nothing were done, drag from the very thin atmosphere at that altitude would inex­orably pull it down, and it was estimated that reentry and burn-up would occur around March 1983. This estimate was based on the average density of the atmosphere at various levels of solar activity. It was known that between 1974 and 1980 solar activity would be increasing, approaching solar maxi­mum —a time when sunspots, flares, and the ejection of solar particles to and beyond the Earth would be more frequent. Increased solar activity heats the upper atmosphere, causing it to expand. The slight increase in density at Skylab’s altitude would increase drag, causing it to descend more quick­ly. All of this was factored in.

But the rise in solar activity during the 1970s was far from average. It was the most active solar cycle ever recorded with modern instruments. And through the years from 1974 to 1978, NASA and noaa differed in their fore­casts. noaa was forecasting higher drag than NASA.

NASA’s plan when Skylab was deactivated was to visit it again when the Space Shuttle was operational, and the first flight had been scheduled for early 1979—plenty of time. A remotely operated system would remove a propulsion module from the orbiter and place it in Skylab’s docking hatch, either to boost it to a high, safe altitude while plans were made to somehow activate it or to deorbit it safely to a remote ocean. Neither component was yet being built because of NASA’s very tight budget.

But as the sun gradually began to move Skylab’s demise earlier, the Shuttle schedule began to move later. An early 1979 launch began to look risky. Sky – lab would have to be visited earlier than the fifth flight, during the so-called test phase of the program, and Shuttle management didn’t want to risk that. Could anything be done to keep Skylab aloft longer? Maybe something could. In February 1977 a team of eight engineers—four from Marshall and four from Johnson—went to Bermuda to try to wake Skylab up. Bermuda was the only NASA ground station that still had command capability using the “old-fashioned” uhf radio band.

As Bill Chubb, at that time leader of the Support Team for Attitude Con­trol at Marshall, explained, “Four years had passed, and we had no idea of the condition of any of the systems nor did we even know if they were com – mandable from the Skylab ground station network. It was critical that we establish communications, interrogate, and activate these systems to facil­itate a controlled reentry.

“In order to evaluate what options were available to us, the state of the onboard systems had to be determined. Ground tracking told us when Sky­lab would be within communication range. Onboard batteries of the power system were most likely fully discharged. Power would be available on the vehicle only when the solar panels were pointing toward the sun. There was no way of knowing if its attitude would be such that the solar panels would be pointed toward the sun during the passes over Bermuda, making pow­er available to the onboard telemetry system. Even with power available we did not know whether it was operable. On March 6, 1978, as Skylab passed within range of the Bermuda Ground Tracking Station, the onboard Sky­lab Airlock Module command and telemetry system was commanded ‘on.’ Numerous ‘on’ commands were sent until at last data from Skylab came into the Bermuda Station. It was a moment none of us would forget!”

Charlie Harlan was appointed by Chris Kraft, director of Johnson, in 1977 to create and head up the Skylab Reentry Flight Control Team. He recalled: “We’d send a command to charge the batteries, but there had to be juice on the bus for it to be received. So those guys just sat out there, sending com­mand after command after command. Eventually one would get through.” With persistence the remaining good batteries were finally recharged, and Skylab was ready to be commanded out of its passive gravity-gradient atti­tude into one that would enable control of drag. What attitudes could the aging control system sustain?

Now that control of Skylab attitude had been reestablished, what was the desired direction in space? The lowest drag would make the station travel like an arrow (end-on) and provide the longest lifetime. But to best control the point of reentry and final destruction, a higher drag and shorter lifetime would be better. During this control period, Associated Press space report­er Howard Benedict (later the executive director of the Astronaut Scholar­ship Foundation for many years) noted that “Jack Lousma, a member of the (second) crew to live aboard the station for fifty-nine days, came by the Con­trol Center and asked if the station could be inhabited again. Chubb said ‘Yes,’ there was enough oxygen and nitrogen for perhaps a ninety-day mis­sion. Lousma noted that there probably was still plenty of asparagus aboard, too—left by past crews.” It was one of their least favorite dishes!

One of the three Control Moment Gyros used to control Skylab’s atti­tude had failed during the third crew’s mission, and another had developed increased bearing temperatures—a possible sign of impending failure. There was very little nitrogen left in the cold gas backup attitude control system. Two cmgs had to be enough to control Skylab and possibly even one. Was this possible?

Charlie Harlan again: “There were some heroes in this story, and maybe the biggest ones were Hans Kennel and his colleague John Glaese at msfc. They came up with what many of us thought was impossible—new control laws for the cmgs to control Skylab even if two of them failed, and new atti­tudes we could use to control drag. They brought in four guys from IBM who had done the original control system. They completely rewrote the software in Skylab’s IBM computer. They wrote over all the code that wasn’t needed like crew displays and controls. We turned their stuff into commands and sent it up. I remember one day we tumbled Skylab doing that. They’d sent us a matrix, and somehow the rows and columns got transposed and we sent up a bunch of garbage. But they caught it right away and we corrected it.”

Since the goal at that time was to stretch Skylab’s lifetime, drag had to be minimized. The attitude invented for that purpose was called “end-on velocity vector (eovv).”

Hans Kennel recalled: “To reduce the orbital decay the attitude control of the Skylab had to be regained and the drag had to be reduced by point­ing the long vehicle axis along the orbital velocity vector. Leading up to reinstatement of active control of Skylab and activation of eovv was the discussion about the health of one of the two remaining functional Con­trol Moment Gyros. It had shown signs toward the end of the original Sky – lab mission similar to the one that failed, and many thought failure of this second cmg was imminent.

“That would have left one cmg remaining, whereas Skylab needed two good cmgs for control. We were told the reactivation mission was ‘off’ unless we could come up with a single cmg backup for eovv. Along with the oth­er things described, we had to develop such a thing and we did. It would have been a ‘hairy’ operation, but it looked like it would work. On the basis of that, the go-ahead was given, and we even adapted the same momentum management methodology developed for single cmg control for use with the two functional cmgs.

“As a side note it was learned after the reactivation phase that the ailing cmg worked better if it was exposed to the sun and not in shadow for extend­ed periods and so we developed maneuver plans for flipping the vehicle from orbital workshop and habitation module forward to Apollo Telescope Mount forward, depending on which end was more favorable for heating the ail­ing cmg. From that point on it never again showed signs of problems and worked all throughout the remainder of eovv and tea [Torque Equilibri­um Attitude]. We developed the necessary control methods, built a simu­lation to verify the operation, including what kind of data the ground con­trollers would see, and with the help of IBM the necessary algorithms were implemented on the onboard computer.

“All this was done in record time (we were made aware of the problem on 20 March 1978, IBM got the necessary equations for the onboard com­puter on 26 April 1978, and eovv attitude was successfully entered 11 June 1978). And it worked very well reducing the orbital decay. This fast response was only possible because we were fluent in apl (a high level computer lan­guage); we had all the necessary simulation components due to previous experience; practically all red tape was cut; and the official documentation was done much later.”

The low drag attitude was expected to increase Skylab’s lifetime by about five months, into 1980. But early in 1978, the risk of a Skylab reentry was abrupt­ly dramatized by the Soviet space program. A Soviet spacecraft, Cosmos 954, entered the atmosphere and broke up over northern Canada, spreading nearly a hundred pounds of nuclear fuel over a broad swath of forest. Crit­ics began to question NASA’s plans. NASA assured the public that Skylab con­tained no radioactive material.

There was talk of extending Skylab’s life by moving it into a higher orbit. Engineers looked at the possibility of launching a booster that could be attached to Skylab. The Space Shuttle, it appeared, was the best answer. Launch on an unmanned rocket would mean figuring out how to auto­mate the reboosting. With the Shuttle, the crews could carry the booster to Skylab and attach it.

However, the same program that offered hope for Skylab’s salvation also brought that hope to an end. The first spaceworthy orbiter, Columbia, was plagued during testing with the loss of insulating ceramic tiles as well as trouble with its engines. A better system for applying the tiles was needed, and the first launch attempt slipped to 1981. Skylab was going to reenter.

The control team now knew what it had to do and prepared a plan for review by NASA headquarters. First they looked at how Skylab’s orbit varied as it moved around the Earth. Some orbits passed over many densely popu­lated land areas; others spent most of the time over water and desert. Using a population-density map prepared by the Department of Defense, they esti­mated the population under Skylab’s path for each orbit.

The next step was to forecast how Skylab might break up, how much of its bulk would survive reentry and hit Earth’s surface, and over what area. An analysis had been prepared by NASA before Skylab’s launch and was used. The end-of-mission Skylab weighed about 173,000 pounds, and about 50,000 pounds of that was expected to survive reentry.

Putting the two analyses together, NASA estimated that there was an aver­age chance of one in 152 that someone might be struck by debris. But on the very best orbits, it was much less than a tenth of that. These were the orbits that passed over southern Canada, then swept southeast over the Atlantic, skimmed just south of the tip of Africa, up the Pacific and Indian oceans to cross Australia, then across the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean until reach­ing North America again. If reentry could be contrived to happen east of North America and west of Australia on one of these orbits, Skylab could be safely disposed of.

So the plan was to put Skylab back into its old standard solar inertial, high-

drag attitude, then carefully track what effect that drag was having on its altitude and reentry point. As altitude decreased and drag increased, it would be impossible to maintain solar inertial; asymmetric drag would twist Sky – lab out of control. No problem; the unflappable Hans Kennel and his team had invented torque equilibrium altitude, a variation that perfectly balanced all the forces. Nominally the point of no return would be reached at seven­ty-five miles altitude. At that altitude, controllers would command Skylab to turn off its cmgs; it would immediately tumble. The known, lower drag of the tumbling configuration would result in a known entry location. And by varying the altitude at tumble time, the team believed it could stretch or shorten reentry to place it on one of the five “good” orbits for that day.

Charlie Harlan recalled, “Another hero was Richard Brown, a Rockwell contractor engineer. He figured out how much power we’d need to per­form each maneuver and what attitudes would achieve it. Since our pow­er margins were very small, we’d call Richard in whenever we were plan­ning an attitude change.” Headquarters agonized over the plan. There was a faction that didn’t want to give the public the impression that NASA was in full control; if the scheme backfired, there would be much blame. “This was the ‘God’ faction—they basically didn’t want to do anything,” Harlan said, “so they could blame it on God. But I’m a Deist. I believe God put us on Earth with certain capabilities, and expects us to do our best. My team and I were ready, and pretty optimistic.”

Finally, the call came from headquarters. John Yardley, acting as liaison between Johnson and the administrator, approved the plan. Harlan recalled telling Chris Kraft this and Chris saying, “Charlie, you got your answer. Hang up the phone and don’t answer it again.”

Headquarters had insisted on using predictions of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (norad) regarding reentry rather than nasa’s, “so that there would be one official source.” The NASA team was pretty sure their prediction was better, because they had a better knowledge of vehicle configuration and drag. And in June the NASA prediction was running about two days earlier than the norad one. “We knew the predictions would con­verge as we got close,” Harlan said. “But the media really wanted to be here for the big event, so we told them unofficially, ‘If you don’t want to miss it, get set up a couple of days early.’”

But before the final demise of Skylab, the general public had lots of advice

for NASA. Headlines in the 5 June 1979 edition of the Huntsville Times reported that “nasa Chief [Robert Frosch] Is Chided for Skylab’s Fall.” When asked where he would be at the time of Skylab’s return, Frosch said that “if not at NASA Headquarters, he would probably be at a bbq in his backyard.” Congressman Robert Walker, R, Pennsylvania, was “somewhat incredu­lous” that nobody had given any thought at all to tell the public what to do. NASA general counsel Neil Hosenball said, “Our people are the last in the world to know what to say or how to do it [alert the public].”

Other more specific advice came from the public: “Fill a robot plane with TNT and crash into it.” Or “shoot a missile at it.” All these many letters were sent to William O’Donnell, nasa’s director of public information, who said they were all answered. One of those giving him “most pause to compose” suggested having “the astronauts attach balloons (filled with helium) so it will float into outer space.”

A New York restaurant invited people to partake of Skylab cocktails — “two of these and you won’t know what hit you.” A large baseball mitt was erect­ed at Cape Canaveral to catch the station. Another radio station (kmbz, in Kansas) offered $9,800 for a piece of the station. Beanie hats with propel­lers and T-shirts were sold in San Francisco with a large “x” imprinted say­ing, “Hit me.” (There were jokes that shirts like this would keep the wear­er safe—there was no way the government could actually hit anything it aimed for.)

A psychic from California somehow got Harlan’s home phone number. “She called me several times with predictions. I’d say, ‘How do you know that?’ And she’d say, ‘Numerology.’ But she predicted impact on Dover, Del­aware, and she never called back afterwards.”

Meanwhile the press was having a field day. Some people in Washing­ton DC, had started a Chicken Little Society. There were bumper stickers (“Chicken Little was Right!” “Good to the Last Drop”), T-shirts, slogans, and contests—a kind of gallows humor. The New York Times chided NASA soberly. Officials in England offered advice: “Being inside a house would protect you from small pieces. . . .”

Garriott recalled: “I was greatly amused and annoyed by what I consid­ered to be a gross overreaction by the press and criticism of NASA. I had an interview request from one of the Houston press about it. I noted that I/we didn’t invite him to drive down into our community. And since he did, he was exposing our children to a greater risk of being hit by his car than we at NASA were exposing his family to by Skylab reentry. That was not too well received and didn’t make it to print. The statistics were simple and required some estimation, but I believe they were true.”

On 9 July headquarters opened the Skylab Coordination Center to keep everyone informed. On the tenth the forecast was made that entry would occur the next day between 7:00 a. m. and 5:00 p. m., Eastern daylight time. On the other side of the world in Australia, headlines warned of the impend­ing reentry. Sydney’s Sun newspaper ran a front-page headline, three lines deep in bold letters two inches tall, “skylab on aust crash course.”

“Skylab is on a crash course that could bring debris down on south­western Australia, American authorities said today,” the article, dated 10 July, read. “But it could still re-enter Earth’s atmosphere on any of 12 final orbits—including some over Sydney. The Western Australia State Emer­gency Service went on full alert this morning. ‘All we’ve heard is rumours,’ ses director Mr D. L. Hill said today.”

Another Sydney paper, the Daily Mirror, announced the same day “sky – lab zero hour near.” Stacked below it was the headline for another arti­cle, informing readers, “But here’s some down-to-Earth good news — $10 a week tax cut plan.”

Harlan and his team stood by to make their last decision. At midnight it appeared that Skylab would reenter on the very best orbit. But the predicted debris “footprint” was immense—nearly four thousand miles long by one hundred wide because the heavier pieces would be less affected by drag and would travel a lot farther. And it looked like the western edge of that foot­print might just overlap the U. S. east coast. So the tumbling command was given early, with Skylab just under eighty miles high, and the impact foot­print moved east as predicted.

But things rarely go exactly as predicted. Skylab’s breakup altitude had been calculated from its design structural strength requirements. The actu­al vehicle was stronger than the specs required. It held together longer than was calculated, breaking up over the Indian Ocean. Most of the debris fell harmlessly into the water, but some chunks fell in western Australia along a line from south to northeast of Perth. (Nine days later, Perth hosted the Miss Universe pageant, and a piece of the fallen spacecraft was on display during the event.) “Thank God—and Charlie’s team—no one was hurt,” Kerwin said.

What Goes Up

47- Johnson Space Center officials and flight controllers monitor the reentry of Skylab.

A ground track of Skylab in its last hour or so of existence on 11 July starts from mid-Canada and moves easterly out into the North Atlantic. It then moves southeast into the South Atlantic, just as planned. It passes south of the Cape of Good Hope and turns northeast across the Indian Ocean toward Australia, beginning to seriously break apart and the lighter pieces to burn up. Some smaller pieces scattered down on tin roofs in Esperance and other nearby cities, but a few of the larger chunks (such as the film vault and the oxygen and nitrogen tanks) presumably carried on overhead into the Outback. Some are doubtless still there, awaiting some adventuresome explorer to find them.

The raining of debris on Australia prompted legal action—the town of Esperance fined the U. S. State Department four hundred dollars for litter­ing. Kerwin recalled that his primary emotion at seeing the end of his one­time home was simply relief that nobody was hurt. “I think we’d seen it com­ing for long enough not to be surprised or regretful,” he said.

In Australia the reentering spacecraft put on a show for those who saw it. The Skylab control center actually got a phone call from the captain of a commercial aircraft flying along Australia’s west coast. It was night, and he excitedly described the multiple streaks of flame blazing through the sky.

That was the clue for the team to turn off their consoles and go home. Air­line pilot Bill Anderson gave an even more useful visual report when he not­ed that he and his passengers saw separate fireballs change from a “bright blue into an orangey-red” as the debris broke up and descended into the lower atmosphere.

A woman in the town of Esperance in southwest Australia was among those on the ground who saw Skylab fall. It seemed like “a shower of spar­kling lights—like a rocket—passed overhead with no sound, until about a half a minute or so, [then] there was this loud boom,” she said.

Once more, giant bold letters graced Sydney’s Sun. Above the headline “skylab hits wa station,” was followed by a distinctly local angle to the story: “The world stood in awe today as Skylab tore itself apart in a spectac­ular display and spattered the Earth of a remote West Australia sheep sta­tion,” the 12 July article begins. “But Noondinia Station manager John Seil­er’s only complaint was: ‘It scared my horses.’”

When Skylab fell, Stan Thornton was a seventeen-year-old truck driver’s assistant living in Esperance, a remote coastal town set in the Bay of Isles, some 440 miles southeast of the capital Perth. He calls his resort hometown “a real paradise.”

That momentous evening in a region known for incredibly clear night skies, Stan traveled with his sister and some friends to a local lookout and watched in fascination as a profusion of bright, colorful man-made mete­ors ripped across the starry heavens, indicating the end of Skylab. The fol­lowing morning his mother Elsie “went out to [their] backyard, which had only been mowed and cleaned the previous day, and found charcoal piec­es spread all over the grass.” After Elsie had told her son about the burnt chunks of debris, he gathered up a few sizeable pieces and went to the local State Emergency Services (ses) office with his friend Ray Rose.

Local ses manager Phil Arlidge contacted a Perth radio station at 6:00 p. m., as he’d heard about a reward on offer for the first person to deliver an authenticated piece of Skylab to a newspaper office in San Francisco with­in seventy-two hours. The radio station was up to the challenge Arlidge’s call presented and confirmed with him that the San Francisco Examiner was indeed prepared to pay a ten-thousand-dollar reward—on the provi­so it reached their office in America within three days. Stan Thornton was about to be involved in the race of a lifetime.

What Goes Up

48. Owen Garriott with an oxygen tank, one of the largest pieces of Skylab debris to be recovered, at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville al.

Things began to happen in a hurry, according to Stan. “The radio peo­ple were in Esperance with the help of a Swan Brewery Lear Jet within two hours. They had already contacted Qantas to arrange my ticket and pass­port, and the next day I flew out of Perth for the United States. In San Fran­cisco I was greeted at the airport by Qantas manager Gil Whelan, who had arranged a limousine, and I was taken straight to the downtown Examin­er office.”

Stan had delivered the pieces with twenty-four hours to spare and was pre­sented with his bounty. The newspaper’s reporters wanted to know every­thing about him and how he had found the Skylab debris. “There was a press conference at the Examiner office, and after this they locked the piec­es into a briefcase to be sent to NASA,” he recalled. He suddenly found him­self an instant celebrity and will never forget the experience. “For someone who had not been out of Esperance, it was pretty over the top,” he recently reflected. Within a couple of days, Ray Rose and Stan’s family had joined him in San Francisco to celebrate his good fortune. NASA examined the

charred fragments and Stan said they later told him the pieces were “some type of balsa wood from the insulation.”

Recently moving to a new home just south of Perth with his partner Ker­ry and their two children, his famous “dash for cash” still brings back vivid memories for the truck driver/laborer, and despite the passage of time Stan said he still has a degree of friendly notoriety among his family and friends. “The only part of my life that really changed over here,” he reflects with a shy smile, “was the word ‘Skylab’ was placed in front of my name. Even today I am actually still greeted as ‘Skylab.’”

People said a lot of nice things about Harlan and his team after it was over—including a headline in the Toronto Star, “How Charlie saved Cana­da from Skylab!” But the kudos he remembers most fondly came in a splash­down party skit put on by his neighbors. It featured a song called, “A Salute to Charles: He Couldn’t Keep It Up.” An excerpt (to the tune of “The Eyes of Texas Are upon You”):

The parts ofSkylab are upon you

All the live long day

The parts ofSkylab are upon you,

We hope they will decay;

Did you hear the Skylab coming,

Was it a big surprise?

Little ladies in Australia Are saying, “Damn your eyes! ”

Solar Observations

For solar observations it is essential to note that our atmosphere is opaque to portions of the sun’s radiation. Only the so-called visible wavelengths, from about 400 to 800 nanometers (4,000 to 8,000 Angstroms) can pass through

the atmosphere without significant absorption. It is presumably no coin­cidence that this just happens to be the wavelengths at which our eyes are sensitive to light; while it is presumably a coincidence that the sun’s major radiation band is passed through the atmosphere to warm our planet. But the sun also radiates substantially at even shorter wavelengths in the ultra­violet, extreme ultraviolet, and x-ray ranges. It is again fortunate that the atmosphere does absorb these rays as they would otherwise be lethal to all forms of life here on the Earth’s surface. Without the thick atmosphere (and the Earth’s magnetic field for protection against arriving charged particles) we might all be living in caves, underground, or in the water.

So the Skylab was equipped with eight large telescopes in a large canister called the Apollo Telescope Mount, most of which had to be above almost all of the atmosphere to function properly. Two of the telescopes looked at the sun at visible wavelengths called “hydrogen-alpha,” radiation coming from excited hydrogen atoms in the solar atmosphere. As this wavelength can be seen with ground-based telescopes, it provided a means of coordinat­ing observations with terrestrial observatories all around the globe to look at a particular feature and compare observations. Three more telescopes were sensitive to the extreme ultraviolet and two to the x-ray portion of the spec­trum. The sun looks quite different at each of these wavelengths, and solar astronomers use these differences to deduce many things about the sun. For example, each wavelength of emission is directly related to a different tem­perature of the emitting atom and therefore to a different altitude in the solar atmosphere, which permits a much better picture of the sun’s struc­ture to be constructed.

The eighth telescope was a White Light Coronagraph, which could have worked on the ground except for the fact that the sun’s disk is about one million times brighter than the faint corona. Light scattering in our atmo­sphere from the bright disk completely swamps the faint coronal light here on Earth. The one exception to this occurs at times of a total solar eclipse, when the moon passes directly in front of the sun and blocks out its bright light. So only for a few minutes every year or so, at some places in the world (usually remote, it seems), it is possible to see the solar corona. But on Skylab an occulting disk was placed in front of the telescope to replace the moon, and the crew could then see the corona continuously whenever they were not on the dark side of the orbit.

So the ground astronomers and the crew remained in close contact every day. The ground teams worked up plans for how the crews could best opti­mize their limited observation time. There could be at most periods of about fifty minutes of sunlight, coming about ten times each twenty-four hours. Although there were almost sixteen orbits each Earth day, the crew was sleep­ing or otherwise occupied on some of them. This still permitted substan­tially more observational time than in the original flight plan. The ground team noted what the likely interesting solar features might be, argued with­in their own ranks about which instruments should have priority on each occasion, then had to argue with other research disciplines when special cir­cumstances arose, sometimes taking their case all the way up to the flight director who controlled the whole mission for a decision. Then when their plan was sent up to the crew on a teleprinter, the crews would plan the orbit’s activity and usually follow the ground’s suggestions. But the final pointing of instruments always had to be done onboard, and whenever solar condi­tions changed or the crew saw evidence of even more interesting phenom­ena, they might well change the ground plan and proceed with an alterna­tive observational program.

With the extreme ultraviolet telescopes the view presented was of gases at tens of thousands of degrees Celsius, coming from the chromosphere above the photosphere, which is the part of the sun the naked eye sees. With the x-ray telescopes the crew was viewing gases at millions of degrees Celsius, where the emission comes from even higher in the corona. All of these fea­tures differ when the sun is very active as compared with a cooler and very quiet sun. The sun’s activity varies over a cycle of about eleven years. When Skylab was first planned, it was hoped to have a very active sun, which would be especially interesting to most of the solar astronomers. But flight delays of several years pushed the launch date out into the quiet portion of the cycle. Then nature came to the rescue. As it happened during the second mission, the sun became very active, at least on one side, and the sunspot number (a measure of the number of visible black dots and groups on the surface of the sun) varied all the way from io to over 150 at other times. So very good observations could be made from quiet to very active solar conditions.

The White Light Coronagraph stood apart from the other experiments in that it looked at the very faint light coming from far above the disk of the sun. Of particular interest were phenomena then called “coronal tran­sients,” but now called “coronal mass ejections,” or cmes. In these cases a long magnetic strand lifts off the lower atmosphere and expands into an enormous loop far out into the corona like a stretched rubber band. Occa­sionally, the band is stretched so far that it breaks apart and the confined gases escape into interplanetary space.

When this happens a coronal mass ejection occurs and if it is pointed in the correct general direction, it will eventually arrive in the vicinity of the Earth. This usually takes two to three days. When it gets here, it frequently produces not only the beautiful aurora but also not-so-desirable power line fluctuations or outages and sometimes damage to sensitive satellites in Earth orbit. Even though satellites in Earth orbit may be damaged, it could be far worse for space probes or manned spacecraft far outside the magnetic enve­lope (the magnetosphere) of the Earth. In this case very energetic solar pro­tons could be more dangerous to space probes and people, whereas within the magnetosphere, the magnetic field largely turns away the charged par­ticles streaming outward from the sun.

Garriott reported one of the most exciting observations of his mission was the day the first major cme was observed. “As I recall, the ground called us and alerted us to the possibility that one of the low magnetic loops appeared to be rising. When we first looked at the White Light Coronograph, indeed, the loop was already extended roughly a solar radius or half a million miles above the photosphere. So I promptly took a Polaroid picture of the screen while we also activated others of the telescopes to record relevant data as well. Then when we came back around the Earth in about an hour and a half, I took another Polaroid photo, and sure enough the loop had expand­ed by perhaps another two solar radii into the corona. A quick calculation told us that the outward velocity of the cme was at least 500 kilometers per second, a phenomenal speed it seemed to us! As far as I know, this was the first visual observation of a cme and the first real-time measurement of its minimum speed. When analyzed more carefully on the ground, the same number was calculated.

“Also of interest to us were small spots visible in the extreme ultraviolet, but not on the hydrogen-alpha visible images. For lack of better terminol­ogy, we called them ‘xuv bright points.’ We didn’t really know what they were or their relevance to other solar events. We hoped they might even be precursors to a solar flare, for which a full study was a very high priority. They didn’t seem to live too long, maybe thirty minutes, then faded away. We spent quite a lot of time studying them in space, and subsequent analysis on the ground revealed that they are the source of much of the solar magne­tism. In addition we felt that they could be the location of new solar flares, so we watched them carefully. Indeed, Ed used this clue to provide imag­es of the very early stages of a flare by following the development of one of the ‘bright points.’”

Another feature studied at considerable length was coronal holes, which are areas of very low emission. They can be discerned all across the spec­trum, but especially in hydrogen-alpha emission and at xuv wavelengths. Both the ground and the space crew could see them, permitting close coop­eration in selecting targets and timing. What was less expected was to see the close association between areas on the sun’s face where there was very little emission (the “holes”) and the solar wind, which permeates all of interplan­etary space. It appears that the “holes” are areas where any local magnetic fields do not form loops, but instead are essentially open. For this reason, any hot gases from the sun, which would otherwise be trapped by the solar magnetic field, can now flow straight out into space.

While the results of Skylab solar observations seemed to exceed even the ground investigators’ expectations, one of its most valuable benefits was the instruction it provided to later experimenters who wanted even longer con­tinuous observations of particular features. The corona and cmes? Now the researchers knew roughly their frequency and speed. They knew to connect them to appearance of coronal holes visible on the ground. Bright points? Solar physicists have now been studying them for decades building from the pioneering work on Skylab. Much of the next phases of solar research have been done with automated satellites based on the results found on Skylab.

The Legacy of Skylab

Perhaps part of Skylab’s greatest legacy is the extent to which its legacy is often overlooked. Tucked between the glory ofApollo and the much longer Space Shuttle program, Skylab’s importance to human space exploration can be lost in the shadows of its older and younger siblings. However, it is a testament to how effective Skylab was in breaking new ground in human spaceflight that the lessons it taught are now largely taken for granted.

Before Skylab, however, many of the things that today seem to have been part of spaceflight forever were still largely terra incognita. Nearly all of the transition from the early explorations of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo to the living and working in space on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station was a result of the successes of the three Skylab crews. They truly were able to homestead the space frontier and pave the way for those that would come after them.

So What Was Learned from the Skylab Experience?

It is possible to live and work in space

If Skylab taught the world nothing else, that one legacy alone would have made possible the future of human spaceflight. Three successive new records for spaceflight duration proved that people could live in space for far longer than the fourteen-day Gemini 7 mission that had set the bar for NASA pre­viously. The depressurization tragedy at the end of the Soviet Union’s twen­ty-three-day Soyuz 11 mission meant that much of the information from that flight was lost. And while some basic experiments had been conducted within the relatively limited confines of previous spacecraft, Skylab would prove that meaningful scientific research could be conducted in orbit—a fact that was vital to the success of the Shuttle’s science missions.

An astronaut can spend months in space
and live out a healthy life

The fact that no one had ever lived in space for the duration the Skylab astro-
nauts did also meant that no one knew what would happen when someone

returned to Earth after that long. It was one thing to know that a person could live in space for that long, but unless they were able to then return safely home, that knowledge meant very little. Extensive medical baselin­ing before and during the flight gave confidence that the crews could come home in good health, and longitudinal data collected afterwards—to this very day—monitored their recovery after the flight.

Space motion sickness is a problem,
but not an insurmountable one

Prior to Skylab there was only limited awareness of the problems that can result during adaptation to the microgravity environment. Skylab certainly demonstrated that space motion sickness could be a serious short-term prob­lem for astronauts, but it also laid the groundwork for dealing with it.

Meaningful work can be conducted on spacewalks Today’s International Space Station has myriad translation aids on its exterior to allow astronauts to move around while conducting repairs and improve­ments to the spacecraft. Skylab, on the other hand, had next to none, out­side of the path from the airlock to the atm. The fact that Skylab was unpre­pared for the sort of repair work its crews would have to conduct shows just how little was understood at the time about the possibilities presented by extravehicular activity. Everything from the construction of the iss to the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope owes a debt of gratitude to the prece­dent set by Skylab. For many years the patch on NASA’s eva space suits fea­tured three stars in its background, each representing a key eva—one for Ed White’s first U. S. spacewalk, one for Apollo 11’s first steps on the moon, and one representing Conrad and Kerwin’s first Skylab eva.

A space station is a viable platform for research There had been numerous proposals for space stations over the years, but Skylab was the first time NASA implemented one of those proposals, and the first time anyone in the world manned one spacecraft with multiple suc­cessive crews.

Skylab also marked a turning point in spaceflight. Previously the focus of human spaceflight had been working toward exploring another world. Low Earth orbit had been only a steppingstone to the moon. Skylab proved that humans could make valuable scientific contributions in orbit, paving the way for spaceflight in the coming years.

Valuable astronomy and Earth observation
can be conducted from space

Skylab revealed how complex and dynamic the sun is and marked the begin­ning of a new era in mankind’s understanding of the active nature of the sun and its relationship to the Earth. While the idea of conducting astro­nomical research in space did not begin with Skylab, the success of the work done there lay the groundwork for future generations of space telescopes. Skylab also laid the groundwork for a field of Earth observations research that has continued since on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

The Challenge of the atm

Designing and operating the manned solar observatory, the Apollo Tele­scope Mount, presented a challenge of epic proportions for the atm team composed of principal investigators who remained on the ground, the instru­ment designers, ground control personnel, and the nine Skylab crewmen who operated the observatory in flight. Like other such challenges, it proved to be highly demanding, rewarding, and just plain enjoyable, especially for those fortunate enough to operate the observatory in flight.

Skylab, and atm in particular, served as an illuminating milestone to both the test pilots and scientists in the astronaut corps: “Hey, even scientists have major contributions to make,” and “Even test pilots can actually learn sci­ence.” Enough lively kidding and chain pulling by both groups took place in training to field a cohesive, capable, and dedicated team of observers on each of the three missions.

Unlike most stellar observations, the detail visible on our nearest star demanded that crews be prepared to continuously make operational decisions with each instrument in space (instrument pointing), time (times of opera­tion and film exposures), and wavelength (use of different instrument oper­ational modes that covered the spectrum from visible light all the way down to x-rays). Our mother star is rich in a variety of features including granu­lation, supergranulation, sunspots, active regions, filaments, bright points, and coronal structure. Solar events also cover a wide range of the required time resolution from its eleven-year activity cycle down to flares, which are solar explosions that can rise within seconds. It was the challenge of the atm team to put instruments in orbit with cutting-edge observational capabili­ties and operate them in the way that maximized further understanding of known solar features and events and discoveries of new phenomena.

But just how does one meet this challenge? Basically, there were four essential components to the atm team’s approach:

Place in orbit state-of-the-art instruments with cutting-edge capabilities.

Provide the in-flight observers with real-time, appropriate feed­back on relevant features and events on the sun to enable them to make the best choices in space, time, and wavelength for observation.

Ensure each operator has the background and training to effectively operate the atm observatory.

Ensure the flight plan has the flexibility to accommodate optimum ground scheduling and observer real-time modifications.

Perspectives on the Legacy

Alan Bean, for whom life on Skylab was a follow-up to his experience of walking on the moon, said that the station was a vital step in the history of manned spaceflight. “My impression of it was that it was the best possi­ble investment of NASA money,” he said. “It’s so much more valuable than sending one other mission to the moon, which they could have done with that Saturn v.

“It was so much more valuable, I felt, as far as understanding the future of spaceflight and taking the next step. Taking another step on the moon would have been nice, but it wasn’t going to do much different. Different rocks, nothing new particularly. And so we made a breakthrough on another branch of spaceflight, and started out in a way that gave us a foundation.” In retrospect it’s easy to forget how many unknown factors the Skylab crews dealt with, how many things astronauts today are able to take for grant­ed because the Skylab crews proved that they could be done. “My biggest concern before we flew Skylab, or anybody flew Skylab, was, at the end of twenty-eight days, and then at the end of fifty-six days, would we be strong enough to go outside and recover the film and do the work in our space suits? Now it seems like a dumb idea. But I can remember thinking that is one of the real huge hurdles that I wondered if we’d be able to do. As it turned out to be, we stayed just as strong as we were at the beginning.”

Bean said that he regrets the extent to which some of the knowledge gained on Skylab was lost during the decades before the United States once again became involved in long-duration spaceflight. While on orbit, he said, the crewmembers spent time each week answering habitability questions about life on Skylab—everything from how well the equipment worked to what they thought of the colors in the workshop. Their answers were recorded on tape, dumped to the ground, and then written up. “We talked about every­thing you could think of,” Bean said. He said that, in talking to members of the astronaut corps about the International Space Station project, he’s found that the habitability reports produced based on the experiences of the Skylab crews have gone largely unread.

Bob Crippen agreed: “The one thing that I really worried about was—we did it, then we let it sit up there until it was falling out of the sky, and now we’re starting to finally get a space station up there again.” Crippen said that the time gap between Skylab and the first International Space Station crew was very disappointing to him. “I thought we learned a lot of lessons, and it wasn’t obvious when you get that big of a gap that you can transfer a lot of knowledge. That’s the only disappointment that I felt.” (It is worth noting that this is not due to a lack of trying on the part of the Skylab astronauts, many ofwhom were involved in the planning for the later space station pro­grams either while still at NASA or as contractors.)

Overall, Crippen said that he was very proud to have been involved in the program. Learning of the problem with the micrometeoroid shield at launch, he said, was one of the lowest points of his career, and the recovery from that disaster amazed him. “I thought we’d lose the entire mission right there when that happened. The way the team worked to pull off getting the thing back flying again I thought was fantastic.” The can-do attitude that began the program, he noted, continued throughout with the work that was done during the mission on such things as changing out the gyros.

“The Russians were over here about that time, and they were impressed at how we could do on-orbit repairs, some of those kinds of things,” Crip­pen said. “In fact, we took some of those lessons into Space Shuttle, that we needed the capability to do in-flight maintenance on things we didn’t even know we were going to have to work on. So I thought it was a great program. I think everybody that participated in it will tell you that.”

For Bob Schwinghamer also, the effort to save Skylab after its disastrous launch was a defining moment. “I mean, that enormous recovery effort, and the ability to pull that off— in retrospect, you just wonder how people were able to do that in the short time that they did,” he said. “And then the astronauts did their thing. It was something you can remember with pride, everybody that had anything to do with it. It was an uplifting experience.”

The program, Schwinghamer said, lived up to its expectations. “I think it more than did.”

That sentiment was echoed by George Hardy: “I think Skylab was in some ways, without question, the best space program this country has ever had. Now there are some space programs that had maybe higher, greater technical challenges, but I guess if you were to characterize it as ‘bang for the buck,’ I don’t think there’s been a program that’s gotten the bang for the buck that Skylab got.”

Hardy, who went on to be involved in the space station program, also said that he has been disappointed with NASA’s failure to fully capitalize on the lessons learned during Skylab when moving forward. While he noted that many parts of the Skylab experience—such as the lessons learned about crew and ground operations for a long-term program—informally influenced later programs, lessons of other parts of that experience have been largely lost.

“I don’t think there was a formal, structured program for carrying ‘les­sons learned’ from Skylab into space station,” he said. “I don’t know exact­ly why that was. I think for the most part a lot of people working on space station thought to themselves that space station would be so far advanced from Skylab that there wouldn’t be any useful lessons to be learned. And that was a big mistake.”

George Mueller was even harsher in his views on the subject. He was very proud of the accomplishments of Skylab—“I thought it was great”—and very disappointed with what he saw as NASA failing to learn the lessons of that program in the space station project. “The design of the station really did not take advantage of what we learned on Skylab,” he said. “That was my impression the first time I walked through that mock-up; I thought, ‘We haven’t really learned anything.’”

In particular, he said, the decision not to use a heavy lift vehicle, which would have allowed large volumes to be launched into orbit, was a major limitation in the space station program. “Volume is tremendously impor­tant in living conditions,” Mueller said. “Engineers want to build everything into little boxes, but if you’re going to live in it, you’d like to have some dis­tance, you’d like to have some privacy, and you’d like to have some things that are pleasing to look at.”

Jack Lousma said that he also is proud of the groundwork that Skylab laid for the future of spaceflight. “I think we demonstrated that you could live and work in space for a long time and do a good job,” he said. “One of the most important legacies was the demonstration of long-duration flight, demonstrating that not only could you survive up there but you could do useful things, that you could work up there like you would in any laborato­ry back home. We demonstrated that we could do zero-gravity spacewalks. It gave us the confidence to go on to longer missions, having a sense that if you stayed there a year, you’d still be ok.”

Where Are They Now?

Alan Bean

After resigning from nasa in 1981, Bean devoted himself full-time to his painting. He has found a devoted audience for his work, which is based on his experiences as an astronaut on the moon.

Bo Bobko

Bobko flew on his first space mission in 1983 as the pilot of sts-6, the first flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger, seventeen years after he was first select­ed as an astronaut by the Air Force. Bobko also went on to command mis­sions of his own, Shuttle flights 51-D and 51-j, both in 1985. Bobko left NASA in 1988 to work as an aerospace contractor.

Vance Brand

Despite missing out on the Skylab rescue mission, Brand would fly into space four times—on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and as commander of the sts – 4, 41-B and STS-35 Space Shuttle missions. After the retirement of John Young in 2004, Brand became the senior member of the astronaut corps still work­ing at NASA, serving as the deputy director for Aerospace Projects at Dryden Flight Research Center until his own retirement in 2008.

Jerry Carr

After leaving NASA in 1977, Carr was heavily involved as a contractor in pro­viding consulting input for the development of the International Space Sta­tion. He founded camus, a family owned business that combines his con­sulting with wife Pat Musick’s art and sculpture.

Pete Conrad

After leaving NASA months after his Skylab experience in 1973, Conrad remained involved in aeronautics and space exploration until his death in 1999 as a result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

Perspectives on the Legacy

49- At the Skylab Thirtieth Reunion (from left): Alan Bean, Jerry Carr, Joe Kerwin, Owen Garriott, Bill Pogue, Paul Weitz, Jack Lousma, and Ed Gibson.

Bob Crippen

Crippen, who served as director of Kennedy Space Center before leaving NASA in 1995, was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2006 in recognition of his role as pilot of sts-i, the first Space Shuttle mission. In addition to serving as pilot of that mission, Crippen commanded the STS-7 and 41c and 41G Shuttle missions.

Owen Garriott

After flying into space one more time on the STS-9 Spacelab mission of the Space Shuttle, Garriott resigned from NASA in 1986 and is now an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He spends additional time in charitable activities and as a founder of two new businesses.

Ed Gibson

In addition to working with aerospace contractors after leaving NASA in 1974, Gibson also authored two novels, Reach and In the Wrong Hands. He recently retired as senior vice president and contract manager with Science Applications International Corporation.

Joe Kerwin

Kerwin served as the NASA representative in Australia in 1982 and 1983, then as director of Space and Life Sciences at jsc from 1984 to 1987. He worked

for Lockheed from 1987 to 1996 and finished his career as senior vice presi­dent with Wyle Laboratories, retiring in 2004.

Chris Kraft

Per Kraft: “Chris Kraft is now retired and trying to stay compos mentis. He is very proud of his part in the early days of manned spaceflight and espe­cially the Space Shuttle, which has been unfairly maligned by the media, NASA and other ill-informed engineers and scientists.”

Chuck Lewis (msfc)

After Skylab, Lewis spent a few years in the propulsion division, working on the srb booster separation motors among other things. He then worked in crew training and interface for Spacelab missions. At retirement in 1996, he was Chief of the Mission Training Division at msfc, where he had the plea­sure of watching young engineers continue to support the flight crew with great training and man-systems design for the remaining Spacelab flights and well into the iss era.

Jack Lousma

Lousma made one more spaceflight after Skylab, as commander of Colum­bia’s STS-3 mission, the third Space Shuttle flight, in March 1982. He resigned from NASA in 1983. In 1984 he won the Republican primary for one of Michi­gan’s seats in the U. S. Senate but was defeated by the incumbent in the gen­eral election. Since that time, he has been involved in several technology – related businesses and still lives in Michigan with his wife Gratia.

George Mueller

Mueller continues to be involved in the advancement of space transpor­tation, actively pursuing the fundamental physical requirement for a via­ble space society: a completely reusable space vehicle capable of delivering tons of payload to low Earth orbit at a cost of dollars per pound, a goal he describes as well within our reach.

Bill Pogue

After leaving NASA, Pogue turned his attention to the next generation of space stations, serving as a consultant for what became the International Space Station, and to the next generation of explorers, making spaceflight accessible through his books How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space and Space Trivia.

Don Puddy

Puddy served as a Shuttle flight director and as the lead flight director on the Shuttle approach and landing tests. He subsequently served as a special assistant to the NASA administrator, as the deputy director of the Dryden Research Center, and as the director of Flight Crew Operations at jsc. After retirement he succumbed to cancer.

Rusty Schweickart

Schweickart left NASA in 1977 to join the staff of Gov. Jerry Brown of Cali­fornia. He served as commissioner of energy in California for nearly six years then as a senior executive in several space and telecommunications com­panies. He now chairs the board of the B612 Foundation, which champi­ons plans to protect the earth from asteroid impacts. He is the founder and past president of the Association of Space Explorers, the international pro­fessional society of astronauts and cosmonauts.

Bob Schwinghamer

Schwinghamer retired from Marshall as assistant director, technical in Jan­uary 1999. Since that time he has consulted for NASA on the Shuttle Colum­bia accident and also on the successful “return to flight” of the Space Shut­tle. He still resides in Huntsville.

Phil Shaffer

After Skylab Shaffer served as a principal interface between jsc’s flight oper­ations organizations and Rockwell International for establishing operations requirements for the Space Shuttle. In the early 1980s after leaving NASA, he served as a consultant supporting several of the NASA contractors supporting the Shuttle and the Space Station. Phil Shaffer died in June 2007.

Jim Splawn

As a director of marketing and business development for Boeing, Splawn is responsible for acquiring new business through advanced technology appli­cations for the Department of Defense. These technologies may be used in either an offense or defense weapon mode, including missiles. Applica­tions include military operations, both local and foreign, and Homeland Security.

J. R. Thompson

Before leaving NASA, Thompson served as deputy administrator at NASA headquarters and as director of Marshall Space Flight Center. Today he serves as vice chairman, president, and chief operating officer of Orbital Sciences.

Bill Thornton

Scientist astronaut Bill Thornton waited sixteen years after his selection by NASA before he first flew on sts-8 in 1983. The mission further explored human adaptation to the microgravity environment, with much of the research being performed with equipment he had designed. Thornton flew once more, on the Spacelab-3 51-B mission in 1985, on which he was responsible for medical investigations. He left NASA in 1994 and returned to academia at the Univer­sity of Texas Medical Branch and the University of Houston, Clear Lake.

Paul Weitz

Weitz commanded the sixth Shuttle mission in 1983. He served as deputy chief of the astronaut office until 1986, then was appointed deputy director of the Johnson Space Center. He retired from NASA in 1994 and moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, where he says he “took up birding, fly fishing, and loaf­ing, in reverse order.”

Nine men were fortunate to live the Skylab experience, and their names will forever be recorded as NASA’s first to truly live and work in space.

But while the names of those nine are the best known of the Skylab pro­gram, their voyages were made possible by thousands of men and women who helped establish an outpost on the frontier of space.

“Their legacy is that it is possible for humans to live and work in space for extended periods—but only with a terrific ‘Home Earth’ team to sup­port them,” Joe Kerwin said. “We, the homesteaders, thank them for their gifts of problem solving, support, and cooperation.

“It was fun to learn how to fly.”


Alan Bean’s In-Flight Diary


Perspectives on the Legacy

The following is the complete text of the diary that Skylab II commander Alan Bean kept during his time on the space station. It is presented unex­purgated and largely unmodified, with the primary exception of format­ting. Bean’s handwriting does not differentiate between capital and lower­case letters, and the diary included minimal use of punctuation. For the sake of readability, those issues have been addressed.

Bean numbered the entry with the day of the year on which it was writ­ten, so the first entry, 209, for example, refers to the 209th day of the year, 28 July 1973.


Launch Day

(I am writing this early in the morning of day 10—Could not sleep, eva today, so thought I might catch up.)

Slept well early tonight, took Seconal and hit the bed about 7 p. m., so did Jack and Owen.

Don Lind had come around to pick up my things, brief case, clothes, gifts to take back to Houston—some to Sue and some to home—Some are in the isolation trailer in Houston which will stay locked up till we get back.

Awakened on time by Al Shepard. He and Deke kept track of us the last few weeks more than usual. This has mixed blessings.

Early morning urination in bottle and weighing in gym—seemed strange to see Paul Buchanan, Edward & Dee standing in the gym waiting. First there was the microbiological samples. Then physical—Then eat—We wore white terry cloth robes.

No traditional sour balls for the launch crew. Looking back now, may­be we should have.

Al Shepard rode in van as far as the Launch Control Center. I watched him because he held the rdz book—when he got up to get off, he forgot he had it and I had to ask. On the way he told us he was the last minute back up—he then mentioned Glenn having his suit at the suit room prior to Al’s first flight.

4, 3 (engine noise and damn the machine starts to shake), 2, 1, more and more violent shaking—it seems to want to go like a car spinning its wheels

о—God, and you feel it pull away from the launch site—vibration, rough jerking, much much feeling of an unleashed power house wanting to go sky­ward —almost the same feel in reverse when you step off the high diving board—You can hear and feel the beast start to accelerate. Jack and Owen are spellbound, so am I for that matter. Lift off, tower clear, whew, that’s a big one, roll & pitch program. I call—my voice sounds ok, don’t sound too nervous, that’s good —Jack and Owen ok.


Slept in the ows sleep compartments last night—Place not fully activated but better than csm. Slept pretty good because I was so tired, and sorta sick to my stomach. Owen looked so-so but Jack looked real bad.

Stuffed up head feeling present and will probably be with us the rest of the flight—Nose gets lots of buggers in it & when I blow it it expels blood. Dry climates like Denver do the same.

May have had the straps too tight on the bunk last night.

Breakfast in csm, no water yet in the workshop—Not a pleasant get together—Nobody wanted to eat but knew we had to. No one wanted to think of the things we had to do today— I was behind with stowage, put­ting the rate gyros together (a last minute add on) and trouble shooting the condensate leak. In fact spent most of today responding to ground request for troubleshooting the leak—seemed disorganized—kept doing things too fast, causing delays, lost 50% of my time today for things I should not have let loose.


We are farting a lot but not belching much —Joe Kerwin said we would have to learn to handle lots of gas.

Got to stop responding to ground so fast and just dropping what I am doing—causes us to run behind on the time line. Do not know just what to do about this.

I am feeling good in the morning and between meals. Meals themselves tough to get through.

Still losing a lot of things, too big a hurry. Wish the flight planners would let up. The time taken to trouble shoot the condensate system shoots the whole timeline. Got to stay on schedule.

Floated too much at a work station—wish my triangle shoes were adjust­ed correctly.

Guess we had the failure. Because except for a stuck thruster it’s about the worst we can expect — We handled it well but not perfectly.


Jack was taking a cooked fecal out of the dryer—laughing—well, here is a real nice ripe one, I said, bet you are a good pitza cook. No, said Jack, pancakes.

We had too many fecals and vomitus to cook—

(Look at down voice and we can see what we did each day in ref. to Flt Plan.)


Without triangle shoes you can get a free return to our early ancestors; namely holding and swinging feet, legs, arms and wedging feet and arms, feet and butt or feet and back to hold position, you get good at it where you do not have to pick out specific place for each limb or which technique to use, but it comes naturally.

All were in extremely high spirits today, first day we all feel good.

Discuss location of items in particular pockets—left lower leg, trash.

Owen said that today we ought to ask for a reduction in our insurance rates because we were no longer running the risk of drowning or auto accident.


Left sal vent open last night after water dump. Thought I was so good at it, did not use check list—fooled because this was first night without exper­iment in SAL.

Wonder what happens when we cross the international date line multiple times a day. Well, no matter.

Saw Cape of Good Hope.

Owen let Arabella out of the vial. She had been in there since____ days

prior to launch. She had not come out so Owen got the vial off the cage, opened the door, shook her out where she immediately bounced back and forth, front to back, four or five times, then locked onto screen panels at the box edge provided for visualization—there she sits clutching the screen. Owen and I talked of giving spider food because she has not moved one half day. Owen said “no” because when she gets hungry is when she spins her web. (More description.) She can live two-three weeks without if she has too.

First back-to-back erep. Jack vts sites Lake Michigan. But got Baltimore instead. Or Washington, his prime site.

Saw what we thought was a salt flat but turned out to be a glacier in Chile. We could see Cape Horn — Cape Horn and Good Hope all in one day, fantastic.

Owen wanted to know if we had tried to urinate upside in the head. He said it psychological tough. Jack said he tried it and he peed right in his eye.

Diving thru workshop different than in water—here the speed that you move (translate) is controlled entirely by your push off so for some spins you can have a D, і Уг, 2 У2, 3 У2, etc. Difficult to push off straight and to get speeds you want. You must watch your progress as you spin—it’s tough to learn but to keep from hitting objects, it’s a must.

It was a great day — first back to back erep and it came off perfect. Jack and Owen good spirits for eva tomorrow—we worked all afternoon and evening on prep, much more fun than on Earth in ig.

Owen worked 22 hours today because he counted his sleep cap time. Talk­ed with Sue over Guam tonight. She asked about rdz from Dave Scott. He said і quad out at so some skill required—he is going to Flight Research Center, great! Every day is filled with memorable experiences—sites, sounds, emotions, hope, fear, courage, friendship. I just wish we could go home to our wives at night.

My urine volume lower than Owen and Jack. Been drinking a lot but must do better. Been concentrating on eating too much. Owen said meals were the high point of a day on Earth and here too. Only difference is there it’s the start, up here it’s when you finish. I got ahead today with a snack dur­ing erep, don’t ever fall behind.

I cut a hole in the bottom of my sleeping bag near the feet—too hot, had to tie a knot to keep from freezing in the early morning.

Heard about leak in am primary and secondary cooling loop. Pri should last 17 days and secondary 60 days. Wonder what ingenious fix they will come up with.

No csm master alarm today.

Almost a no mistake day. But just prior to sleep Crip calls and ask we turn the ess (medical) off. I had just ridden the bike.


eva day. I had a tough time sleeping. ok for first 6 hours or so then off and on—finally writing at normal wake up time, iiooz (0600 Houston) because they let us sleep late. Bed is great. I am going to patent it when I get home. The bungee straps and netting for the head and the pillows were my idea. Might come in use someday because no other simple way to make og feel like Earth.

Jack sleeps next to me then Owen at end—the reason, his sleep cap equip­ment fits better.

Funny how good we feel now, I think we all would have said “to hell with this, let’s go home.” I—we were not old enough to know time would pass and we would feel better. No one ever said it in words but that was the way we all looked at each other around day 2 and 3.

Sleeping is different here because the “bed clothes” do not tend to rest or touch your body. This causes large air spaces about your body, that your body heat just doesn’t heat. It’s difficult to snuggle down. Have to put under­shirts (long) and t-shirt on during the night. I cut feet out of the long han­dles then use them for pajamas. Also I mod’ed my bed by cutting a hole in the netting near the feet, too cold at night so close it up with a knot.

Little worried, Funny—Owen’s pcu is #013 and his umbilical is #13. I’m not superstitious, but. . .

Started taking food pill supplements today. Kit is junkeys paradise.

Jack discovered new way to shake urine to minimize bubbles. I called ground and said, “we even have our professionals—Owen atm checkout, me condensate dump, Jack urine shaking.”

eva thoughts

Owen was having trouble with the twin poles—the elastic was tight at either end of the pole plate and as he pulled the poles out the rubber grommet locking the lock nut would tend to roll off. We had not pulled out any poles at the pre check last night because we were afraid too, we might break the elastic. We could not even break it today as Owen tried. He used his head and stopped—thought of a new approach, right foot out of foot restraint to pull pole the right end and left out to take the poles.

We are going to have the twin pole sail configuration on our medallion when we get back.

Watching out the STS window as Jack worked in the dark; I could not look at him in the light as he was too close to the sun, it was fantastic to see the sunrise. It began as a light blue band which grew with a fine yellow rim near the Earth’s limb—the blue gets larger then.

The line with the gentle curvature of the Earth and the fact it became dimmer as you looked off to either side of the sun’s future position.

Just before sun up you could see dim flashes of light toward the horizon where thunderstorms were playing. This pin pointed the coming horizon

which was not discernable against the dark of the Earth from the lighted cabin.

Gold grows at last 15 sec to cover much of dark blue then bright orange and a bright glint as the sun. As it rises the Earth’s horizon moves slowly from head to toe on Jack as he is silhouetted against the blue line. It gives the feel­ing of going around a big planet, a big ball rather than just a disk moving from in front of the eye. The science fiction movie effect was fantastic.

Pole deploy was also difficult because line got tangled by 180 degrees—had to roll back the grommet and then unscrew the nut and remove it.

Poles nice and straight and not bobbing around—white tape at forward edge foil/nylon sail stuck together—did not want to unfold but Jack pulled it in and then out again as sun sets.

Jack said, being out on the sun end, was a little like Peter Pan—or that you were riding a big white horse—feet spread wide across the whole world—the Earth is visible on both sides, at the same times and you can see 360 degrees—riding backwards.

Jack kept teleprinter flight plan as he was going to bed. Owen ask why—Jack said “I want to keep the memorable and unique days”—I said “don’t lose your day off flight plan then.”


Passed the lbnp today for the first time. Think I was too far in it and squeeze around stomach cut off blood, will move saddle from 9 to 6.

Did a lot of flying about the workshop just before sleep tonight. Skill need­ed, but great relaxer. Wish Owen would move Arabella.

Arabella finished her web perfectly. When Owen told Jack at breakfast, Jack said “well that’s good, I like to see a spider do something at least once in a while.”


Lost our day 5 menu card today. Had to fake it at breakfast. I finally found it as I was looking in the toolbox for a Phillips head screw driver for the wardroom foot restraints. My green copy of Childhood’s End floated by. If you wait long enough, everything lost will float by. A dynamic envi­ronment no one can be stranded in center of a space because small air cur­rents have an effect.

Tried to fly (like swimming) last night. But air currents much more dominant.

Fire and rapid Delta p drill today. Owen needs them the most but hates them the worst. I try to stick with him and do this together, Jack goes alone—when I am distracted, Owen will be doing other things not drill related and I must get him back.

Slept better last night (upside down) because it was cooler from the twin boom sun shade.

Arabella ate her web last night and spun another perfect one.


Day off— we had mixed emotions. We were tired and needed rest yet our chance to do good work was almost one-fourth over. When each flight hour represents 13-14 Earth training hours then you can make worthwhile a lot of pre-flight effort with a little extra in flight effort. We did however do some atm and some SO19. We asked for extra plus housekeeping. Wipe, dry bio­cide wipe, the place is immaculate and not a predatory germ within miles, much less traveling at 18,000 mph.

Got a thrill today. Tried to put our a urine bag with the metal fine fil­ter for the head in it [the Trash Airlock] in addition to three urine bags. It would not eject. I tried to close the doors and breathed a real sigh of relief as it came closed. I removed the filter from the now shortened bag and tried again, this time it moved 1” or so then stuck. I tried gingerly to close the door but this time it would not. My heart was beating fast. Can this be happen­ing to us? I tried the ejection handle again, and no luck, the door was stuck. Finally the only way was to force it. I rapped it again and again at first no success, but finally a little at a time then she broke free. My heart still beat fast but maybe a lesson was learned. Why did they not build the lock as an inverted cone so whatever was in there could always be moved down the ever expanding diameter.

Owen did the spider TV three times. Once because he recorded it all on channel A, once because the TV select switch was in the atm and not ows position, the last time it was okay. He got behind and I did some of his house­keeping as he was still up when Jack and I were headed for bed. Jack said “Owen, do you have anything left I can help you with? ” Owen said “no.” But that’s the way Jack is. Noticed Jack uses aftershave on his crotch. Old Spice after shave and skin conditioner complete with a NASA part number.

Notice we do not seem to reflex to catch something when we drop it as we did the first few days. It’s enjoyable to just let a heavy object float nearby.


Jack replied to Hank Hartsfield, he felt real good today. Owen said, uh oh, Jack must be sick again. Go look for a full vomitus bag in his bunk room.

Had a PP02 low caution alarm—ground said, we can inhibit as it was erratic recently.

We moved our suits up to the mda getting them closer to the csm and out of the way for the maneuvering experiment later in the week—we moved three silent friends and stashed two at the front end of the mda and one under the atm foot support.

Almost screwed up erep pass today—put in switch command to go to ZLV then did not enter bias in the das. Time to get to attitude starts over which the das bias maneuver is entered and when have Hank reminded me from the ground I had not enter — I did—& immediately knew I should not have — Owen and Jack were up there in a minute to say I should not have. We ask the ground for a new maneuver time to still get there and they quickly gave us 18 minutes where I entered and turned out okay, although we were one minute late to local vertical attitude. This is where I believe all our training paid off— a foolish mistake but we caught it and recovered to make it go—got three sites and then could not get a volcano in because of the overcast clouds.

Owen called me up to the atm and then took my picture with this Pola­roid, out came a picture of a naked gal with big boobs. He took some oth­ers, turns out they were put there by Paul Patterson prior to launch. Owen said he said he was going to call Houston and going to tell Paul, but I said – careful, do not pique the curiosity of the newsmen because they will want to know what’s up and the world has a few little old ladies that do not want pin up pictures in a U. S. space station.

Owen was discouraged today—the experiment

Jack mentioned there was only one requirement for peeing in og, and that was keeping your pecker in the cup — Owen allowed, well, he found that he could minimize the urine drop at the end by being aware that the blad­der was near empty then really press and increase the stream’s speed, only a small drop remains.


Had a thriller, was writing in my book when caution tone then warning tone came on—Jack on toilet—Owen and I soared up and found cluster ATT

warning lt and Acs (attitude control system light) on. We looked at atm pan­el and found much tacs firing and x gyro single, y gyro okay, z gyro single. A quick look at the ATT power showed multiple tacs firings. Both Owen and I were excited, it had been some time since we practiced these failures, plus we are in a complicated rate gyro configuration—we both really were looking at all things at once—das commands, status words, RT gyro talk backs, momentum and cmg wheel position readouts. We elected to go ATT hold but tacs kept firing, so we then turned off the tacs, looked at each rate gyro and set the best of one set back on the line. We would have gone to the csm but with our quad problems that would be a last resort. No, we had to solve it right then. We put the rate gyros back into configuration then enabled tacs, then did a nominal momentum cage—this seemed to make the system happy—namely tacs quit firing. Owen and I had settled down by then and were solving the problem again and again to insure we have not forgotten any step. We came into daylight—were two degrees or so in x and Y off so went to S. I.—maneuvered too slow so we set in a five sec maneu­ver time and selected S. I. again—Houston came up and I gave them a brief rundown—Owen, never giving up atm time, started my run for me while I went down for dessert of peaches and ice cream.

erep passed today, Jack got four targets, we then had an erep cal pass taking specific data on the full moon—all three of us working well togeth­er, we have trained a long time for this chance and we want to make the most of it.

Jack made a suggestion to walk on the ceiling as the floor for a few min­utes —we did and in less than a minute it seemed like the floor although covered with lights, wiring runs and traps it seemed like a new place — clut­tered but nice—the bicycle hung overhead was different as was the ward­room table but many lockers and stowage spaces were much easier to see and reach—I might use this technique to advantage when hunting a miss­ing item or looking in a lower drawer.

Had to ask Capcom, Story Musgrave, to give us more work today and also tomorrow—we are getting in the swing—when you’re hot, you’re hot. We will have about 45 more days to do all the things we were trained to do for the last 2 У2—3 years—time is going fast and we must make the most use of it. Much of what we learned will have no application after Skylab—such as how to operate specific experiments, systems, where things are stored, experiment protocol, how to operate the atm, erep, etc.


Had bad experience today, sneezed while urinating—bad on Earth—disas­ter up here.

Did 10-15 minutes on dome lockers. Handsprings, dives, twists, can do things that no one on Earth can do—fantastic fun and I guess good lim­bering up exercises for riding the bike.

I went up and looked out of the mda windows that face the sun, but at night. What an incredible sight, a full moon, Paris, Luxembourg, Prague, Bern, Milan, Turin all visible and beautiful wheels of light and sweeping under the white crossed solar panel of the atm. Normally you cannot look out these windows because the sun glare, I could not watch Jack and Owen on their eva. Now we are in the Bay of Bengal. In just 16 minutes we swept over Europe and Eastern Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and finally over India. Too cloudy to see Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Sumatra and Java will be here soon. We repeat our ground track every 5 days but 5 days from now as we go over the same point of ground the local time there changes so that in 60 days we will have seen all points between 50N and 50s at 12 different times of the day and night. At least once we can watch Parisians (Paris residents) get­ting up having breakfast —

It’s not so much that we are 270 miles up in space that isolates us from the rest of the world it’s that we are going so fast. To come home we must most of all slow down, not too much or we would come in too steeply and aerodynamic forces would be too great. And not too shallow for the upper atmosphere is tenuous and might not slow you enough and you would enter off target and there is a lot of ocean.

Owen and I spent his first night in 17 days just looking out the window during a night pass. We came over France then down over Turkey, the Dar­danelles were visible, then he pointed out the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee—I said I had been as high as anyone on Earth and had been to the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea last year. Owen talked of the night air glow — the fine white layer about a pencils width along the surface of the Earth.

We had looked last night for Perseid meteor shower with them burning up below us. Did not see any doing SO19 — funny to hit the atmosphere and make a shooting star, they all flying past us—with no meteoroid shield any­more, hope we do not contact any one.

Flew 509 today, disappointing because took too long to go anywhere, just jumping and diving more fun—strange we did not realize that prior to flight during training. Kicked up much dust and items that we had not seen for weeks-M092 subject cue card showed up, thank God because we needed it.

Went to bed wondering if we would have a master caution warning with the rate gyros but maybe the computer patch for course gains will work—we can’t point as accurately but we should have less disagreement between gyros.

22 6

Fixed my sleeping bag today, safety pinned at two top blankets and took up slack in blankets—too much volume of air to warm at night. Have been waking chilly about i to 2 hours prior to 6 o’clock (normal wake up time) Houston time and having difficulty going back to sleep. Maybe this will help, sleeping upside down has helped, the cooler ows as a result of the twin pole sun shade deployment is perhaps the greatest contributor.

Normal morning sequence is wake up call from Houston, I get up fast, take down water gun reading, then put on shirt and shorts for weighing in the bmmd. Take book up and weigh while Jack gets teleprinter pads and Owen reads prd. I weigh, Owen weighs, then Jack. I fix breakfast after dressing, with Owen a little behind. Jack cleans up, shaves, does urine and fixes bag and sample for three of us, I finish eating as Jack comes in and I then clean, shave and sample urine, I’m off to work at first job as Owen goes to the waste compartment. Jack is eating and about 30 minutes later we all are at work.

A sudden realization hit me this afternoon—there is no more work for us to do—atm is about it. Except for more medical or more student experiments what a sad state of affairs with this space station up here and not enough work to do — with S020, T025, SO73 gone there just isn’t much left.

We could think up some good TV productions getting 5000 watt/min of exercise per day and that should be enough.

Boy oh boy have I been farting today. You must learn to handle much gas up here and I wondered if we would forget when we went home. Owen said can’t you just see Jack in his living room with all his family and friends around and he forgets.

Funny you want a flight so badly you work hard when you get it you can’t wait to launch but once you are in orbit you’re still thinking of entry. Doesn’t make sense when examined closely. We are on the world’s greatest adven­ture, experience, sight seeing and it’s that desire to get home before some­thing breaks mechanical thing do you know.

I am so glad that Owen and Jack and I are on the same crew. Our person­alities fit one another well—Jack always working, always positive, always happy—Owen always serious, well may be not always.

Owen looks funny lately as he has not trimmed his mustache hair. Shaved under his neck too well—our little windup shaver and the poor bathroom light being the problem. I don’t look too great either, my hair getting long, wonder if “O” or Jack will cut it on our day off.

Talking with Sue on phone vhe through Canary Islands and Madrid—she wanted me to call her in London and Zurich somehow and gave us the number. These calls are great, best entertainment—last one I had was on s-band and it was a bomb. Only talked last 3—4 min. Sue getting ready for school and for London trip. [?] in Las Vegas and in Los Angeles. Home sounds close but it’s still 6 weeks away. Lots of living to do till then, lots to see, lots to accomplish. Amy sounded sweet. I love her more than my heart can understand.

I look forward to Jack and Owen’s calls home too because it is a way of getting news without the censoring influence of open communication.

Took the crew pictures tonight—they will look like mug shots when we get home. Should have taken them earlier for a better comparison with lat­er in the flight.

Our tape recorders are great entertainment but continually need drive wheel cleaning. Like mine best when peddling the ergometer.

Owen got his ego bent last night. He had been commenting about weight loss, wanting more food, and salt—peanuts a favorite, Dr. Paul Buchanan called on his weekly conference and told Owen, Jack and I we’re doing okay but he needed to have a chat with him (Owen). Paul said, Owen we have been looking at your exercise data (over the last two days) and don’t think you are doing enough, maybe your heart isn’t in it—Owen about flipped because he takes great pride in his physical program, pound for pound he does more than Jack and I. He could hardly hold back, afterward he worked out till sweat was all over his body then called on the recorder to tell Paul and those other doctors the facts of the matter. Maddest I’ve seen him in months.


We have been trying to get the flt planning changed. I especially have had a lot of free time, Owen and Jack to a lesser degree. Jack keeps on the move all the time, so my suggestion of cutting down some was okay. Owen thought otherwise, he has a long list of useful work that he brought along, things that other scientists have suggested, worthwhile. How do I accomplish this feat of us producing our maximum without infringing on Owen’s time. He deserves some amount per day to do with as he chooses.

In a way space flight is rewarding but on a day to day it is awfully frus­trating. Up here we are manipulating thousands of switches, controls, dials, etc. to accomplish some precise tasks/experiment and so with all the actions you make many mistakes, more than you would like to—each session on an experiment I say this time I will do it perfectly, but 90% of the time not so, it’s a difficult assignment. Some miscues do not mean a thing, some ruin experiment data. Hopefully none ruin an experiment. It’s hard to stay up for all these experiments day after day, but that is one of the challenges that is a real part of the job. Jack today spent whole night pass taking star/moon and star/horizon sightings on his own time to satisfy an experiment. When the pass was over, 20 marks made, he was debriefing and as he was talking he said, well, I did those sightings with the clear window protector still on. He had not noticed it in the dark. The data would be off.001 arc sec or so and that just didn’t suit Jack. He told the experimenter on record that he would repeat them later.

Food stains get all over. Not yours so much but your crewmates’ food gets on you—shirt, face, hair, you don’t know it but at the end of the day your shirt has little spots where orange juice flew over, or steak juice. Once it starts to move it doesn’t hit the floor, it keeps going in its initial direction till it contacts something or someone. You tend to shield yourself when you open your own food so the spray heads toward your crew mates who are not watching.

Teleprinter message: To Bean, Garriott and Lousma

We have been watching and listening as the three of you live and work in space. Your performance has been outstanding and the observations that you are making are of tremendous impor­tance. Through your efforts Skylab 3 is a great mission.

Keep up the good work.


Jim Fletcher George Low

Received this today. Why do they not send something similar when you are not doing too well, like days 2—4, we appreciated this but just wonder­ing not only them but about myself.

Went to bed on time, do not feel as energetic as usual so feel something was coming on. Sleep is the best thing to repair me, it always works on Earth.


Good day today, first part anyway. One hour after wake up had an atm pass. This was the first of our new schedule. We are taking good atm pics and lots of them. We must be ahead of our nominal mission plan, I hope so. I have not felt good the last day or two. Think it’s my low water intake, I had hoped nature would take its course, but it did not. Better start forced drinking.

Failed my lbnp — had to cut off at 1 min 2 sec to go of a 15 min run. I was at 50mm and started to feel tingley—bp dropped and my heart rate start­ed down, it took a while (5 min) to feel normal again. Pulse got as low as 47—don’t think I’ll go that far down again. This is not like Earth in that you cannot put your head low and gravity force the blood from your head and heart from your legs — it could get a bit sticky if your heart beat got too low.

Jack was observer for the run and hated to put the results on the recorder I could tell, I had to remind him—he has a fine heart. Jack opened up the 2nd tape recorder and it also had a failed drive motor belt. Two failure of a complicated expensive recorder because of a plastic circular belt one-half inch wide and 3 inches long.

Performed T013 today, went well, all equipment worked. Hope the engi­neers can use the data to design control systems for future space stations and there is a need to know just how man moves the station because many experiments have delicate pointing requirements and the control system must maintain this accurately pointed during manned occupation. We had wondered if it would be difficult back in training to bounce back and forth between the force measuring panels but it was not. Hand-to-hand, feet-to – hand, hand-to-feet, all were simple. Jack feels a bit 2nd level, because for the last few days with 509 and T013 he has observed and reported me, rath­er than do it himself.

We received a “heads down” report down from our Dr.—it means don’t look out the windows at certain times because of possible nuclear explo – sions—this time it was near the French testing sites near Tahiti—French

Polynesia. When we awoke there was a teleprinter message for three con­secutive days.


Just found out our day off was tomorrow— Boy, the week goes fast as I hon­estly thought it was 2 days off.

Jack made a boo boo today. (I was flying M509 suited, boy did the umbil­ical give problems, especially on the rate gyro and ними modes—initially the thruster impingement on the suit caused big disturbances.) I mentioned to Houston (Dick Truly) how the back pack seemed to be too far back and the hand controller seemed too short—he came back and asked if we had taken the back spacer out—I looked at Jack and he looked at me. If they asked us later, we were going to say we flew it both ways — we made sure we could say so by flying it for 2 min with the back spacer out.

You soon find out not to set items down free without a tie down strap or spring or in a crevice or in your pocket. Even if released with zero velocity, the air currents will soon take it away, and which way is anyone’s guess. If the object is too big to tie down for just a minute you release it carefully and visually check it every 10 secs—after 2 or 3 checks you will have to reposi­tion it like you put it originally. It’s a habit easy to break but when you do, it then can result in many minutes of lost time hunting.

Owen and I stayed up and looked at the night pass over Mexico, Houston, New York, Nova Scotia and then Paris, the Mediterranean and east Afri­ca. We looked so big and strong and steady as we glided over the Atlantic in 15 minutes. Our atm solar panels were reflecting in the light of the near full moon behind us. We did not see Paris because of early morning haze but could Sardinia, Greece, Crete, Turkey, Israel, the Galilee, the Dead Sea and Africa where Montgomery and Rommel—Bet they would have given anything for a manned satellite to provide observation of the others troops and armor movements.

Owen became excited over the northern U. S. as he looked out and saw some aurora — this was a stranger yellower than the fog bank like aurora the other night but spectacular. There were vertical shafts of light almost like close spaced yellow green search lights.


Our first real day off. Best news was in the morning science report where it said we would catch up with all our atm science as well as the corollary except for medical which was reduced by 25 hours the first half of the mis­sion, we would do the rest—I called and discussed the additional blood work, hematology and urine analysis (specific gravity) that Owen had been doing and wanting them to count that.

We did housekeeping a bunch and had to plan two TV spectaculars. Since we have atm all day we had to schedule it in the 30 min night time crew eat (first night pass for 487). Hair cut next, then acrobatics, then shower. Lots of planning for 3 ten min shows but think the folks in the old U. S.A. will enjoy.

17,112.8 mph is our orbital speed. Had used 18,000 mph on TV and want­ed to be sure — (look at TV tapes for details of what we did) it’s fun but time consuming to do the TV. Just as we were to finish the shower scene my phone call to Sue came in—so Jack got out and waited—when I got back in 10 min or so he undressed and got in and lathered up — we took the TV scene, he rinsed off, we then took the last shot—the one where he floats out of the shower with his shorts on. Owen came back down in a minute and told us the TV switch was in atm so we did not get it—back in the shower Jack went and we ran again—but before he could completely dry his call came in so as he dried I ran up and configured the comm in the csm for him and talked to Gratia—when she heard what was holding Jack she laughed and said “you photograph him in the strangest places.” How can we make him famous if we don’t do it a little different. Anyway we finally got it done—I did more work on the day off than a normal work day. It was late but I ped­dled 5004 watt/min and took my first shower.

It was cooler than I like it—the biggest surprise was how the water clung to my body — a little like Jello in that it doesn’t want to shake off. It built up around the eyes, in the nose and mouth (the crevices) and it gave a slight feel­ing of trying to breathe underwater—I would shake my head violently and the water would drop away (not down but in all directions) some to cling to other parts of my body, some to the shower curtain, some sort of distended the water where they were and snapped back. The soap on the face stayed and diluted with rinse water. Tasted sour when I opened my mouth—that little vacuum has sufficient pull but is rigid and will not conform to the body—so does not do too well there but okay on the inside walls, floor and ceiling. Jack had said it was better to slide my hands over the body and to scrape the water off and over to the shower wall. This worked for hair, arms, legs, but difficult for body especially back—two towels were required to dry off because water did not drain.

Owen was a little annoyed with the TV effort. He did not want to prac­tice the acrobatics for the second time. He usually gets over it in an hour or so. It’s part of our job and we should give it equal time.


Flew T 20 for the first time. Jack as usual had the dirty work but was trying harder because of his error yesterday. The work was slow and tedious because it was the first time around and because the strap design was poor—the whole thing was.

Jack said “I’ve done some pretty dumb things in my life but I never got killed doing it—in this business that is saying a lot” —

Owen said “Well the dumbest thing I can remember was flying out to the observatory near Holleman nm — short hop so I decided to do it at 18,000 ft—as I neared there I started letting down, called approach control-we talked and as I descended their communications faded out—I kept think­ing why should they fade out—it suddenly dawned, shielded behind moun­tains — full power and a rapid climb in the dark saved my ass—I think of that incident several times every month over the last three years.”

Jack was saying that when we got back he and Owen might be considered regular astronauts—Owen laughed—it was beyond his wildest dreams to be classed as a real astronaut.

Been wishing Owen and I had taken pictures of the Israel area the first time we stayed awake to see it—I want to give pictures of this region to some of my religious friends.

Sue told me last night that Boe Adams would be indicted for borrowing twice on the same bank stock—she told me about the 37 murders in Hous­ton —we had not heard because on our nightly news they tend to eliminate the stressful news. Putting our 5,000 watt/min on the ergometer (or is it ergrometer like some say) in one 10 min and one 20 min run—have to stop at 15 min usually and let my 185 heart rate reduce to 150 or so, then finish.

Was supposed to photograph the Antipodes Islands southeast of New Zea­land but was too cloudy—Antipode is the opposite place on Earth and the opposite from the islands is on the English Channel—so the original discov­erer must have been from near there—these are on the 180th meridian.

We are crossing the date line every 93 minutes so we gain a day but of course as we go east we lose it an hour every time (look up some news on Glenn’s flight, might discuss this). 24 hours, so it all averages out.

Jack’s having his ice cream and strawberries. Jack’s food shelves when we transfer a 6 day food supply are almost full of big cans plus a few small—Owen and I have half full shelves with more or less equal amounts of small and large cans—he really puts down the chow.

All are in a good mood, morale is high in spite of all the hard work, we are getting the job done.

I was supposed to take pictures of the plains of Nazca in the Andes in Peru (about 300 mi se of Lima). Criss-cross patterns are the dominant features but I could not pick out even the 37 mi by 1 mi place called the airfield of the ancient astronauts. I was supposed to photograph with the 100 mm Hasselblad and the 300 mm Nikon and identify the plains and describe the geometric pattern. Also describe the general appearance of the plains and geographic relation to the adjacent features. — All in 5 min 10 sec of viewing—weather was broken clouds and I did not see the target. Could have several days ago many times—we must change our approach to ground targets.


A tough tough day. Worked almost all day on trying to find the leak in the condensate vacuum system—hundreds of high torque screws, stetho­scope, soap bubbles, 35 psi nitrogen, reconfiguring several pieces of 20 equip­ment —we never found the leak—that effort must have cost $2 Уг million in flight time.

Jack feels down, the SO19 stuck out and would not retract—we will keep using it but may have to jettison if it won’t come in. He’s hit the bed early, tired—the last atm pass of the day he ran all the S055 in mechanical refer­ence (102 steps less than optical) when it should have been optical—he was dragging—it was partly my fault as I left it there after my last run.

Owen got the word that the citizens of Enid would be putting their lights on for him to see—I went up with him—it was the clearest, prettiest night we’ve had—we could see Ft. Worth-Dallas perfectly—a twin city, one of few — then Oklahoma City then Enid then St. Louis then Chicago—Owen made a nice narration. He said he started to say he saw Tulsa up ahead and realized it was Chicago. Paul Weitz said that was the one thing he never became accustomed to on his flight—the speed which you cover the world, especially the U. S.

Passed my mo 92 today but used saddle position 5, may be too high out of the lbnp and not pull my blood so hard—Owen and I had a laugh by say­ing my delta p of 50 never gets lower, I just keep getting further out of the can—we visualized late in the mission sending TV to the doctors with just my feet in the unit but still pulling 50mm.

Heard tonight we may put in the rate gyro 6 pack — I told Owen I would do it because they did the twin pole and because that sort of work fits my skills better than Owen’s—hope it did not hurt his feelings but that is the way I see it and that’s my job—Owen even brought it up by saying “I think you want to put out the 6 pack and that’s okay with me—I’m glad to do it but know you want to”—I said you’re right we don’t need this job but if it comes up we will pull it off.


Today was a special day — found out we were going to put in the rate gyro 6 pack—who to do it—Owen still wants to do it and so do I. Made up my mind that it would be Owen and I but after reading the procedures real­ized that I should stay in because of my csm experience—Owen and Jack are just not up on it and it is the best decision—Jack will do the 6 pack as he is the most mechanical—Owen does not do those things as well as Jack, it will be tough to tell him tomorrow — I was awake for about two hours trying to put the pieces together and think Owen and Jack outside—me inside is the best way.

Got SO19 in today—just decided to turn the retract crank hard—did so for 10-15 turns but the clutch slipped and it did not move. When I looked in the optics. I think turned it out (extend) then in (retract) then out then in and low and behold it came in.

I took it apart and looked okay as far as possible ice—looked as if a chain synchronizing the x screw drive was loose and may have stuck on a sprock­et. I checked with Houston, adjusted a idler sprocket and it seemed to work okay. Jack looked at it too and noticed another chain that might be too tight so we loosened it. The mirror was so cold that it had condensation on it for several hours. Houston (Karl Henize) wanted it out in a vacuum so the mois­ture would sublimate and minimize residue deposited.

Had to laugh, Jack said he couldn’t fart in the lbnp because he was being pulled down too hard on the saddle—needs a hole in it said Owen—we all pass gas up here—the nice way to say it is “watch out for my green cloud” if someone else comes near.


Told Owen and Jack about eva crewman, they both seemed happy, told them what factors influenced me and who I felt most qualified for each position. Called Houston and told them later, they seemed happy. I started looking at the equipment for the job—all in good shape. Gingerly tested the tool for the interior plug removal and it looked promising. Will have to work on check lists later—need many questions answered from Houston.

Day went fast as it always does—only hard part was exercise io minutes (i min ioo watt, i min @ 125, 2 @ 150, 2 @ 175, 2 @ 200, 2 @ 225) on the ergom – eter. Then some Mk 1 and Mk 11 work—then 25 min where I increase my 1700 watt-min to 5000 watt-min. It’s a good workout and more than I did on Earth.

Owen seemed a little distant later today, don’t know whether it is the hours or the EVA.

Worked on the coolant loop leak inspection. Jack made a break through by taking out screws which we could not turn using vice grips—did not fin­ish procedure but found no leaks either, must be outside (I hope so).

Owen reported an arch on the uv monitor in the corona yesterday. We called it Garriott waves to the ground—he was in the lbnp and was embar­rassed and told us to knock it off— we were happy for him. Today he heard the ground could not it see it in their taped TV display — he went back and checked and found it to be a sort of phantom or mirror image of the bright features of the sun except reflected in the camera by the instrument. He’ll get over it (maybe that’s why he was distant).

Crippen woke us this morning with Julie London singing “The Party’s Over.” Jack wanted to make this Julie London Day, so did Crippen so he could call her but Owen won out with Gene Cagle Day.

Got my exploration map up on the wall of my bunk room—Have to write propped up on the wall since my bunk is upside down.


Would you believe it we get better н-alpha pictures at sunset than we do at sunrise because our velocity relative to the sun is less and that effective­ly changes the freq of the filter in our н-alpha cameras and telescopes—not a small item either.

Owen’s humor—I said “watch your head” as I pulled out the film drawer. Owen replied “I’ll try but my eyeballs don’t usually move that far up.”

We were laughing about the malfunctions we had after we discovered the water glycol leak — I wanted to call Houston and say “Jack is working on the cbrm mal, Owen on the camera mal—tomorrow after we fix the door mals, the 9 rate/gyro mals and the 149 mal of the nylon swatch mal, I’ll start work again on the coolant loop some more or the water glycol leak mal”.

Everyone feels better about eva—I worry too much and Jack will pull it off. Funny how easy it looks now that we are going to do it—did it get eas­ier as we understood the plan or did we just want it to be doable? Morale is high—did perfect on my mo 92/171.


eva day. I was talking to myself during eva and Jack wondered what I was saying—I told him “I was just shooting the shit.” Jack quipped, “get any?—what’s the limit on those?”—Owen was saying “Come on, . . . hustle. . .” Give us some of that (positive mental attitude)—pma (he doesn’t believe in it. But knows I use it on me and them also.) “Go Earl (Earl Nightingale).” I said “you need it, it’s worked on you whether you like it or not.”

Jack had a difficult time with connector number two—it was difficult for me to keep from asking questions of Jack as I wondered if that would be the end of the show but he said don’t talk for awhile and just let me work on it. He did for a very long 5 minutes and then reported connected.

Owen was elated with the view over the Andes—the 270 degree panora­ma with 3 solar panels in the field of view to form a perspective or frame work they were flying over all the world outside of the vehicle going 17,000 mph (get transcript of evas). Lost three shims and one nut taking off the first ramp.

We have only 1 to 2 min of TV recorder time left so have to hold it for Owen’s return to the fas. Owen had to come out of the foot restraints to remove the ramps from the so 56 and 82 a doors. Sun end eva lights worked this time —Jack said he can see many orange lights, we were over mid Rus­sia —not many cities—Orion came up, a beautiful constellation, Owen still working on bolts at Sun end.

Got a master alarm—cmg sat — s/c going out of attitude—I put it in att Hold—TACS when was out 16 degrees.

Sometimes, like on a tall building, you get a controllable urge similar to jumping off which is to open a hatch to vacuum—or take off a glove or pop a helmet—fortunately these are passing impulses that you can control but it is interesting to know they take place.

Great eva today — all happy tonight. Owen summed it up when he said “It’s something that needed doing.” Jack said he thought I made the right decision—so do I and we are all satisfied.

Owen bitched about the medical types that take care of our food because they told Paul Buchanan our food cue card were wrong for optimal salt and they had not bothered to update and had been making them up with sup­plements. — Owen flew off the handle because he has been needing salt.

It is comforting to know someone (many someones) on the ground are working your space craft problems faster and much better than we. We gen­erally perform a holding action if we can. Till help and advice comes, then take the info or suggestions and do them, this is the only way you can free your mind to do the day to day tasks, the productive tasks while someone is trouble shooting your problems.

Heard yesterday that Fred Haise crashed in a Confederate Air Force T-6 and was badly burned but would survive. Seemed his engine out and he dead sticked it into a field, a wing tore off and the whole thing caught fire—burned him over his whole body except his face, so that’s lucky—heard today that he was on oral foods so he must be improving.

Rearranged my bunk room—put a portable light on the floor near the head of my bed and turned my beta book bag upside down so I could grab the items inside easier. I use the door of the bottom locker (pulled out about 30 degrees) as a writing desk. Stole the power cable for the light from the spiders’ cage—hope Owen doesn’t get upset. He has been getting messages to feed them both filet and keep them watered. Will we bring them to the post flight press conference?

The teleprinter is a device about which you can have mixed feelings — it would be hell to get the information any other way so it must be cared for as an expenditure of effort. But at the same time every time you hear it print­ing you know it’s more work for you to do. Wish we would get a non work related message sometime.


Felt good to have atm film again. Operating the atm telescopes and camer­as is one of the most enjoyable tasks here. It is challenging, you can direct­ly contribute to improved data acquisition—Owen has effectively changed the method of operating it in just % of a month. The Polaroid camera and the persistent image scope have made a significant difference.

I had Houston give all the atm passes tomorrow, our day off, to Jack and I, so Owen could finish some things he is behind on and do some addition­al items that he has planned prior to flight—the flight is Уг over and he has little spare time—he needs some to be happy.

Using the head for sponge baths (bad name because sponges squirt water out when pushed on the skin).

(Tell story of mdac test) has become more pleasant as I have been less careful about sprinkling water about. I tend to now splash it somewhat. And after the bath is complete wipe up the droplets on the walls. None on the floor like on Earth if you did the same.

We passed Pete, Joe and Paul’s old space flight mark, in fact we now hold the world record for space flight—it feels good to be breaking new ground said Jack today. We will be Уг into our mission tomorrow night.

Our TV got too hot during eva and quit working—we will do the rest of the mission on one TV I guess. Funny, they did not insulate it sufficiently. We had a plan to put it out the solar air lock for eva but can’t do it now.

Sue and Amy will be getting up soon over in London—we do not go over London, it above 50 degrees N latitude.

Europe is an awfully small part of the Earth—so is the U. S.. Jack has mentioned several times that each time he looks out the window it’s either water or clouds or night.

The odds for man all beginning long ago back in the sea is reasonable just from a total volume of water available to total area of land available.

Jack has a small sty on his left eye, he wanted some “yellow mercury” but settled for Neosporin. Jack treated himself but Owen will examine it tomor­row — Paul Buchanan said for us to be extremely careful because that could be contagious. Perhaps a streptococcus of some type.

Our little Sony tape recorders are holding up so so. It is necessary to clean the rubber drive wheel about once per two days—lots of trouble.

Did Mk I exerciser TV today, also some Mk 11 and side horse swinging on the portable hand grips.

I keep my personal items in a locker above my head—it was across from me at eye height till I turned my bunk up side down, it has a hand hold with a thin rubber sheet covering it. The rubber sheet has a horizontal slit in it and serves to keep objects inside when my hand is inside searching for one of the 20 or so objects within. As I look inside I see chewing gum, stereo tapes,

Skylab sticker, my dental bridge, a string tether for books. Some tape drive wheel cleaning swabs, a couple of old teleprinter messages.


We are going to sleep just under one hour to the mission midpoint. Our sci­ence briefing today showed that we had made up the atm observing time we missed early in the mission and predictions are for us to exceed even the 260 hr atm sun viewing goal. We are ahead in corollary experiments. They are even having us try a new so 63 using the ams that was not to have been till sl 4.

Took my second shower, noticed that you could not hear much of the time less you shook your head because large amounts of water cling to your ear openings. I was the only one showering today.

We did urine refractory tests to determine specific gravity.

Exercised today although that is not my plan for day offs—not doing the exercise would be a nice reward but did not have time eva day.

Think the reason the days pass so quickly up here is the variety of tasks we each do—we never do any one thing longer than 3 hours and the typical would be one hr or less — and you feel you’re doing what you trained for for more than 2 Уг years. I spent much training time in the Navy for war and never went, thank God.

Talked to my mom and dad. Mom is so happy with Pepper and David’s new baby, Brandi Frances, that she doesn’t know what to do — if it had been a boy they were going to make the middle name Arnold. That might suggest Pepper’s feelings toward her grandparents. Mom said Clay was leaving for school next week—had returned from California at 3 in the morning.

Am going thru all my music tapes to grade them pop or easy listening. And very good, good or so so. Seems I listen to the same 3 or 4 all the time.

Jack made an excellent observation when he said NASA should play down the spider after the initial release because it tended to detract from the more meaningful experiments we are doing up here. Will the tax payer say, now that I know what they are doing up there, I don’t like my money going for that sort of thing.

Owen tried to do a science bubble experiment with cherry drink but didn’t look too promising to me. He kept losing the drop of drink from the straw.

Jack suggested we put a pair of trousers in with our clothes in the csm so we would have a full uniform on the ship — we will wear our hypertensive garment for entry—in fact we may wear it for the sps burn since we found out Paul and Joe had a gray out during this burn.

We may want to give the entry guidance to the cm early if gray out occurs there too.

I have noticed if I do not force myself to drink then I will drink much less than on Earth and will dehydrate—I do not seem to automatically desire the proper quantity of water. Owen and I were talking about a possible advan­tage to the 18 days post flight urine and water measuring period—I suggest­ed that when we get back we may not naturally readapt to one G and become dehydrated there. He does not agree at all.

Jack is playing his music in bed. Owen and I both agree on his music at least.

I slept 9 hours last night, a record for me in space.


Spent part of the morning composing a message to the dedication of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Space Center. Thanks to Owen’s and Jack’s sug­gestions, it turned out acceptable I think. It must have because Dr. Fletch­er read only President Nixon’s and ours.

When I used to go from compartment to compartment I would be lost when I got there—now I look ahead as I enter and do a quick roll to the “heads up” attitude for the space I’m entering.

Owen said his only regret was that he would never adapt to Zero G again—he thinks Pete is the only one besides ourselves that has ever done so — the weight loss and the poor appetite are the evidence. We could gain all sorts of weight if we wished.

My pockets are most useful—Lower left—all trash I pick up I empty from time to time. Jack just keeps it there till he throws the pants away. Right low­er, tape and tools if needed. Upper left, timer and tools. Upper right sizzers and flashlight. The little pockets for pens and pencils, knife and sizzers. Far from perfect—flaps too short, needs snap & need more width.

I’ve noticed I enjoy the atm time—The controls are an intellectual chal­lenge and just interesting. Mostly I think it’s because it’s the only solitude that is available. No noise from anyone else—It’s a time to be alone. In the sleep compartment someone is right next to you & it is not so private some­how —Here, seldom does anyone float by.

By the way, living in og means you make no noise generally as you approach someone else, no footsteps, no ripples in the water, just silent swift move­ment. I’ve noticed that each of us tends to say something to another as we approach just to keep from surprising him—startling him. I noticed this silent movement first in skin diving — I could look around and suddenly there some 3—5 feet away would be a big fish—It all depended on the visibility of the water because much of the time one kept a good scan going.

The sty on Jack’s left eye is going away — He found no “yellow mercury” but used Neosporin.

This message was sent to the ground by Alan for the dedication of lbj Center.

Owen, Jack and I would like to send our best wishes to Mrs. Johnson, Governor Brisco, Dr. Fletcher, Dr. Kraft and all the other distinguished guests and officials at the dedication ofthe Lyndon Baines Johnson Space Center. The work in which we are engaged now in Skylab would not be possible had it not been for the strong support and leadership of Pres. Johnson in the Senate and the Presidency.

Our present preeminence in space is in no small way a result of his grasp ofthe fact that a progressive program of space exploration contributes significantly to the future well being of our nation and its people. We are proud to be represent­ing nasa and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Space Center as we circle the Earth.

We believe the work we do here now is an extension of that which he char­tered and championed.


So I feel on top of the world.

Ergometer broke, I fixed it then went back and overtorqued it (should have stopped at 30 in lb) and broke the bolt. Jack used the bone saw then his Swiss Army knife (wonder if the Swiss army really uses them) hack saw blade to fix it—I pedaled 6007 watt/min with 3 min at 300 watts. A new record both for time & for max power. We are whipping into good condition.

I got mad at Owen today — He has a habit of acting disgusted when I make a mistake—Today I had aligned the atm wrong and he was nodding his head—I lost my temper and told him to quit. Maybe he will take the hint.

I asked the ground to let Owen fly M509 soon—He has not flown any simulator, it is safe & it would answer some important questions. Hope Jack won’t mind.

Also asked the ground to invent a pointing device for locating ground sites we should photograph rather than just telling us which window—Hope they will because it would help. Most of the flyover time is spent verifying that you have the right place by looking at the maps, that other observa­tions are compromised.

They wanted to know tonight if Owen would fly on our day off and I said sure—later I asked him and he said ok.

Did a TV tour with Jack today. He was shifting his eyes a lot at first and I told him—he never did so again, he likes TV and will be very good at it when we return. I try to teach them all I know—or think I know.

About every other night I get up because of unusual noises — mostly they are all thermal noises. The most unusual view occurred once as I left my bunk and peered up to the forward compartment. The Уг light from the lock revealed three white suited figures, arms outstretched, leaning sever­al awkward ways—silent, large with white helmet stowed over them—one drying, the others waiting to dry. I was shook a little by the eerie sight so I went to the wardroom and looked out. The dark with white airglow layer and white clouds filed the lower right portion of the window like it was one foot away. It startled me even more.


Morale is high—work level is high. Last night after dinner Owen asked Jack if he (Jack) would like him (Owen) to take his late atm pass. Jack said no he was looking forward to it—he wanted to find some more Ellerman bombs—(bright points in penumbra near sun spots) as he got some earli­er —I interrupted and mentioned that the flight planners had voice uplinked a change in the morning, assigning me to the pass. Owen laughed—here we all are fighting for the last atm pass.

Kidded Owen about wearing his M133 cap—said Jack and I better watch our ps & Qs tomorrow, Owen will be in a bad, criticizing mood—he took the kidding well, hope it will have effect.

I have been decreasing my number of mistakes significantly by only doing one job at once —atm is the one most enticing to doing special task as a set of instruments is operating. Invariably if I do, I do not get back in time or do not catch a simple error in the set up. I am waiting now doing SO19 which requires little thought other than checking the exposure time every few sec­onds. Exposures are 270, 90 or 30 sec.


Had another run with T-20—suspect it was the last unsuited run. Worked somewhat better but the restraint straps were too time consuming to put on.

Noticed I have begun to think of places I like to go — spaghetti joint in la, drive down the San Diego Freeway too. I can see it in my mind’s eye. Our trip to Israel, I see the drive to the Galilee with Mathew Simon. Driv­ing the Gulf Freeway in Houston, Christmas time in the Ft. Worth/Dallas area—shopping at Northwest Mall, driving home last Christmas Eve with gray skys, funny the places you remember, often the least memorable.

I declared “This is the captain speaking, this is proclaimed ‘loud music day’ aboard Skylab, only loud music will be played.” I may have to wres­tle Owen to the floor. I noticed Jack was playing loud Dixieland at the atm panel—he sent some to the ground.

Owen was testing our Achilles tendon this morning—funny to hear Owen ask Jack “how about tapping my leg?” You must get used to touching one another in this job. Doctors do and probably some other professionals, but test pilots usually do not. Putting the sensors on the upper right and left but­tocks (sacrum) is a difficult task for us—handling the fecal bundles before they are dried is also a bit new and not comfortable although completely natural and sanitary.

Owen has been unusually pleasant today—wonder if it was the kidding last night.

Jack and I did TV last night—finished up the tour of the lower compart­ments, Jack did an excellent job, soft-spoken, a few jokes sprinkled in here and there, shower bit with him inside was good. He had to do the ending twice but it turned out okay, I advised him to complete the show in the lbnp he did, it just wasn’t right.

Been way ahead on my time line today — the flight planners gave me house­keeping time and a long lunch—they are really scratching their heads to think of useful things for us to do.

The ergometer must be easier to operate at zero G—perhaps because of no weight the legs only have to push pedal force 35# and not the weight of the body.

We did some activities Achilles tendon reflex TV today and later I acciden­tally put some 183 TV on the recorder over it. We repeated the test later.

Brought our 6 day food supply down—all helped put it in the pantry.

Be glad when erep starts again so we have more good solid science to accomplish. We have been doing a lot of s/ c tests and bmmd tests lately.

The condensate dump line plugged up last night—worked on it off and on all day—hot 35 psi water finally cleared the line—wonder if it will give more trouble, bet it will.

Exercised 10,041 watt/min today for a new world record for me—my nor­mal is about 5,000.

Jack said Gratia said he was on TV last night with part of the tour. She liked it—Sue gets home from Europe, London, Braunwald (Switz.) late tonight. I’ll call tomorrow.

Jack’s boy (6) got on the phone and told Jack their dog was the father of a litter of puppies next door. Jack wondered how he knew and his son said they were black like his dog—Jack had a cat named Detail because as a kit­ten it slept on the warm car motor one too many times.


Good day—we all hustled all day long—Jack almost got a big flare. He was on the panel and the Be counter went up almost enough to have the size flare called for today (counter one, 4,150 counts). He had counter 2, 3,000 or so counts—when I arrived (had been exercising on the Mk 1), he was slewed to a bright linear region or plage that was several times brighter than anything else on the display. It almost looked iridescent (in B&w) Jack could not make up his mind whether to go all the way or not—he elected a prudent course and went into a modified low film usage flare mode. Sure enough, it did not go any higher, he had calculated right. This is where man in the loop comes. Can use his judgment and commit resources as appears wise at the time.

Had a slight argument with Mission Control—we have for two days try­ing to make the waste management dump system work to empty the hold­ing tank and water separators. They have had us do all sorts of procedures to clear it out, dump air, dump hot water at 35 psi-suddenly today Bruce McCa – ndless calls up and yells, “cdr, that last dump you made may have backed up and cracked the separator plates, turn off both condensate valves, switch air flow to heat exchanger в on both Mole sieves and quit dumping.” Well, I quit dumping several hours ago. Next site I told them we were operating this space station like an unmanned station, we could change probes bring up the old probe, look at it, plug it in and check the heaters, blow it out with high pressure nitrogen, they said they would take it under advisement. I also said you could not inspect the plates for cracking as they had a chamy cloth over, under and between the two plates (like a double decker sandwich).

Did my exercise while Owen did M092-93 and I was the observer—ped­dled 200 watts for 4 min then adjusted his setting, then 200 more for the next 4 minutes. While he did 93 I went upstairs and did Mk 1. There are many ways to get ahead on the time line.

The sun has lots of activity on it—it looks like a Christmas ball with many bright lites on it—strung across the equator mostly—wonder if could be like Owen’s water bubble experiment the other day where as he spun the 1 Уг inch ball of water the air bubbles in it all lined up along the equator of the spin axis.

Owen and I were laughing about this night we both went up to see the lights of Enid—he talked of Mexico, Ft. Worth, Dallas, here comes Tulsa, Oklahoma City, look at St. Louis, Chicago—everything but Enid—Hel­en Mary called up there and tried to sooth the people—she gave Owen hell—I kept telling him to say something about Enid but guess he was too shy, they had a direct TV hook up, radio hook to us and all lights including the football field.

Found a stereo tape of mine in one of Pete’s cassette holders. Must have been there since day one—knew some of my music was missing—found it because I was trying to mark the good/so so tapes. We have not played any of SL-4’s music yet I may ask them if it’s okay to do so.

We have been thinking about asking to be extended. We all feel good, obvi­ously healthy. Don’t exactly know how we can go about it ethically — there must be a proper way.

We are going to ask Dr. Buchanan (Paul) about Fred Haise.

Sue had a great time in London and Switzerland—She said Amy was so perfect. She is that anyway. I know the trip was good for both as 60 days is a long time to wait. She will not sit and wait but she will have to wait never­theless. It felt good to hear her voice and know she is nearer.

Owen, Jack and I were laughing about the fact that we are on our 6th food bundle and have filled 6 fecal return containers. He thinks the whole flight might be a phony and we are up here just to process food—I said we could just invent a machine to do this and eject the waste for aircraft recov­ery. Think of the trouble it might save. Jack chimed in Hey, I’m going on strike, I won’t eat. I’ll just put my food directly in the fecal bags—yes, cans and all—Owen quipped don’t forget to include the supplemental pills.

There are many islands in the world. Some small one lost way in the mid­dle of a vast ocean. Some green, some brown, some sandy with light blue green water, the beach—some are just the circular edges of ancient volca­noes —who knows how they slipped beneath the surface.


Writing this on day 245. Yesterday we had our first erep pass in a long time. It felt good to be back at it. We are good at erep and it’s a worth while experiment. I mentioned for the first time—since the timing seemed just right—that we wondered if they had heard anything about our staying an additional 10 days. It caught all by surprise, (except Jack and Owen, they were caught a little by surprise because I had intended to wait about 5 or so more days), the time just felt right.

We are all in such excellent health physically and mentally that this is the right way to do—it could be a great thing for NASA to keep us up here it wouldn’t cost much and the sun is very active right now.

Jack, Owen and I are eating the overage food much more than any of us thought. Jack needs more calories, Owen more salt and potassium and I need more potassium also.

I sure feel different about our physical condition now than I did when we were losing leg circumference. The question was when would it stop.


Day off— Two erep passes plus some good atm — Owen caught a flare, Jack and Owen a couple of smaller flares. The sun is hotter right now than it’s been in 14 years. We can even see 8 or so active regions on the xuv monitor without integration. Jack says it looks like a 3 day after Halloween pump­kin Jack o lantern.

Dr. Paul asked if we really wanted to go the extra 10 days and we said “You bet.” He asked if we had talked to our wives and Owen said he did last night and she is 100% in favor, for as long as he can. Paul said he would just let that drop without comment. As predicted, Owen explained how she meant it.

Owen played his classical music all morning, so I would not put on my loud stuff. I’m enjoying the newly discovered music tape.

Came over San Francisco just before sunset—It’s a beautiful place even from 270 miles. The city was clear but the fog was covering the bridge and just sticking into the bay. It will be a pretty night there tonight I bet.

Did not take a shower. Takes too long.

Heard Jack debrief M487—I need to get his comments (all the guys’ comments)


Clouds are like snowflakes, no two alike—patterns are every kind imagin­able and unimaginable—light furry white, furry grey.

Got my first flare today—A C6 in active region 12. I noticed it while doing some sun center work as an especially bright semicircular ring around a spot. There were 8 or so similar bright rings but this one became exception­ally bright both in Hydrogen-alpha and in the xuv. I debated with myself about stopping the scheduled atm work and going over and concentrate on the possible flare. As of this time it had not reached full flare intensity and it is not possible to know whether it will just keep increasing in intensity or will level off then drop. As I elected to stop the experiments in progress and repoint I noticed about 5800 counts on our Be counter aperture 2 —A true good flare would be 4150 counts aperture 1. It never got much higher. Owen hustled up at once to help—He noted 55 was not at sun center so we repointed it (It was 80 arc sec too low) We took pictures on all except 82A which is extremely tight on film at this point.

Paul had Joe Kerwin talk with us the other night. Joe had heard we had asked to stay and he indicated they had discussed it on day 22 or 24 and decided against it. He seemed to think they had made the proper decision. Joe indicated Pete, Paul & he were in preflight condition—the only real funny was the fact their red blood cell mass was down 15% or so and their bodies did not start making it up till about Day 17. Why it waited that long they do not know. I wondered if it were possible to affect the mechanism so that it stopped forever. Seems far fetched but a thought.

As an astronaut you become very health conscious—if we were not so healthy we could become hypochondriacs. I’ve worried about a rupture in the lbnp. My legs losing circumference, back strain on the exerciser, gain­ing too much weight, not having a good appetite in zero G, heart attacks. You name it—I worried about it —As Owen said—from a health viewpoint these may be the most important 2 months in our lives. He could be right with the changes going on and the remoteness of medical aid.

Owen stayed up late doing atm because of the activity.


Jack told Story we had only 1 set of salt packets left—or 11 normal days worth.

Sounds like a monumental screwup to us. No one counted the salts as what everyone was using—I said it shot a hole in our staying extra days —Jack responded, yeah, all they need is an excuse to get us back on time. Besides if I don’t stay longer, said Jack, how can I finish my bmmd work. It is a joke just how much bmmd work we have done over the last weeks. Repeatabili­ty tests, 50/150 gram weight change tests/insensible water loss tests (mount­ing food trays & calibrating).

Jack sure loves to talk on comm. and especially on TV—on erep he chat­ters away constantly. Bet the guys on the ground enjoy his blow-by-blow descriptions. Jack started maneuver back to si with too short a maneuver time in while talking.

Jack’s extra food is eating into SL-4 supplies. It’s hard to tell which his motive, to hold weight now or to eat up SL-4 food so they can’t stay so long.

I mentioned to Owen that our attitude varies like the sun’s activity — now it’s way up because the sun’s activity is up. Owen avowed that ours is up or way up. Always positive. I mentioned that the first few days it didn’t seem way up. He allowed that. It wasn’t down—sort of like rain on a camping trip — You just have to be patient, good times are ahead. He also allowed that that would be a quotable quote when we got back.

Forgot to mention Jack saying that if they extended us we could always do bmmd calibrations all day — Right, 1 on the bmmd, i on each smmd, then rotate every hour.

In the middle of last night I heard a loud thump—It actually shook the vehicle. I got out of bed and looked at all the tank pressures in the cluster and even in the csm. Nothing seen—I recorded the time 0725 and told Hous­ton this morning. They called back and said they broke the data down at minute intervals and found nothing—they are now breaking it into Уг sec increments. Something happened, but what I don’t know. Perhaps it was a sharper than usual thermal deformation possibly caused by lower beta angle & more rapid sunrise/sunsets. It may show up someday—I hope not entry day with it being a csm pyro. Maybe we got a small meteoroid hit. Well, forget it, or at least, put it in the back of my mind.


I mentioned to Owen about it becoming colder now, especially noticeable in the early morning—You might freeze your ass off if you don’t watch out. Owen said yes the fyao (pronounced fay-yo) number is going up—hope it never reached 1 because


Jack is pedaling the bike with his arms—good for shoulder and arms, he can do 125 watt/min for 5 minutes.

Owen just flew by with the evening teleprinter messages—We try to find a new record, our old record is from the dome hatch to the ceiling of the experiment compartment.

My pocket timer has been invaluable. It allows you to concentrate on two jobs at once without worry you will forget the first. I keep grey tape on both switches so they won’t get accidentally knocked off while in my pocket.

I’m doing 2 16 min exposures on SO19—forgot and left the wardroom win­dow open for the first 30 sec on the first one.

Stowed the erep film in CSMA9 locker complete with brackets—Easier than I thought. We are getting ready.

Owen was on the atm almost all day doing jop 12—Calibration rock­et work to compare with a more recent sun sensor instrument to insure our instrument calibrations have not drifted.

erep tape recorder easy to load, tape has not set and does not float off the reel & make a tangle.

Story Musgrave said there was a sound in the background like a roaring dragon—It was the sound of Jack pulling the мк i exerciser.

Jack’s triangle shoes are wearing out—Hard work on the bike & мк її mostly. He is going to recommend SL4 bring up an extra pair.

Did TV of SO19 set up—It was quick. Did not use the checklist much as it is a familiar one. Did it efficiently.

Took a soap (Nutregina) & rag bath today after work out—Do a soap one every other day—And a water one the other day. We are all clean—Body odor just is not present nor is a sticky feeling after exercise.

If one gets stranded in the middle of an open volume he could merely take off clothes & throw the opposite direction you would like to travel. With no clothes you could wait till the urge to urinate was upon you & jet over. Actually there is enough air flow to prevent any stagnation except against some other object—Sometimes though you will accidentally let loose or your triangle shoe will slip out and you will start a slow drift across the forward compartment—It’s exasperating because there is nothing to do but wait.

Several things I have learned up here but the most valuable for any opera­tion is “Do not try to do anything else while you operate atm — You invari­ably make atm mistakes.”

Another is 2 to з minutes is too short a time to let your mind wander on another subject when you are within that time from a job that must be done then—such as a switch throw, photo exposure, etc.

Our condensate system vacuum leak has fixed itself— somehow when I connected it all back up after the dump probe changeout it did not leak. The ground thinks it’s a fitting on the small condensate tank. Glad to see it go because the і to і Уг hours per night to dump was time consuming.

Changed my jacket today. Wasn’t dirty but need the 2 patches, the flag and the name tag off them.


Good day. Did erep. Got 3 Phoenix sites on one pass but did not find the 4th one (Sand Dunes National Monument) Probably had it in the vts but could not see the dunes. It’s hard to find in a short time. Had my chosen photos of the targets (nasa wants them called sites) all clipped or taped in close view—As I was waiting to start the erep pass we had a 3 min maneu­ver time to z-lv I did two chips of the atm contingency plan for no erep then powered it down for erep. Bet that’s a space first.

Grand Rapids blinked its lights for Jack Lousma tonight. He said some good words over the headset.

Our private medical conference which seems to drag a bit because we are all well with nothing to report. It’s good to hear Paul because sometimes we get straighter information than from Capcoms.

My exploration map has not been of much use during the flight. I’ll have to look at it more. — Our synoptic view just isn’t as great as I had imagined. So many things seem commonplace now that prior to flight were unknowns, for example the physical condition we would be in by now or the final eva. How we would get around inside the vehicle, how much work we could do, what our mental attitude would be.

Talked with Sue tonight — Amy had a sore throat — She, perfect person, knew how many days before I came home—what date today was, what date I would splash down—she is so competent. Sue seemed tired from her first few days of teaching school. It will do her good to earn the money to sup­port the swimming pool. She is giving a party (going away) for the Scotts inviting all our group that can make it. Dick Gordon, who has the perfect job, the one Pete & I picked for him, and his wife Barbara may come from New Orleans.

Owen threw some peanuts from the experiment compartment floor all the way to the dome and I caught them in my mouth—may be a distance record for that sort of thing.

Fun to move objects like SO19 around and just let them float.

Owen was playing some waltzes and remarking “There’s music to waltz by, no better, music to float by” — Jack piped in with, “Hell, that’s music to fart by — In fact all music is that way up here.”


Owen got a x class flare first time manning the atm panel this morning, we all hustled up there to help. It was well done. The big daddy flare we have been waiting for. All of us were laughing and cutting up. Owen had said yesterday he had used all his luck up. Guess he didn’t or he’s running on Jack’s or mine.

3 of Jack’s 4 erep sites were overcast. We did TV prep prior to the pass.

Took apart the video tape recorder and removed 4 circuit boards, 63 screws did the job. No sign of circuit problems, burns, loose wires, etc.

Owen & Paul had it out on the exercise as Paul said last night Owen was slacking off. Jack was up at the atm and was laughing and hollering as was I. We have been calling Owen slacker this evening.

Owen and I got 10 erep film cassettes, 1 erep tape, 3 Earth terrain cam­era mags and a SO19 mag out of a plenum bag where the sl-2 crew had left it. Wonder if we could use it on our mission or on a mission extension.

Owen & I went up and got out some grape drink & lemonade & pears & peaches & pineapples from overage for all of us to eat. We probably won’t eat it all but then will not have to keep going back.

Jack told us about boot camp. How he was told to get in line and be quiet. When he got to the airport. How the Di’s treated everyone. How they han­dled the situation if your bunk was not made right or rifle was not clean or clothes not in place. Jack said it taught you to follow orders without asking questions among other things—Owen said he was not prepared to go thru that type of training at his age—one time maybe yes, but not with what his attitudes are now.

I am very happy with the way our crew is performing—We are doing the job without problems & without giving problems. In my view, it’s a profes­sional performance.

Pete was sitting by Bob Crippen tonight. He sent congratulations for pass­ing him in space flight time—I told Bob to tell him the reason I said for him

to never look back was that I was right on his heels. Pete said that’s the name of the game. I then asked him to ask Pete to fly our entry timeline a couple of times when all the trajectory was finalized—He and Vance.


Made a decision for Owen & I to do the eva. Talked it over with Jack before I asked Owen—Reason was that he would probably get another chance to fly & to eva, but Owen would not. In my opinion Owen has made this space flight much more interesting than it could have been with 3 opera­tional types.

Tried reading while exercising today. It was much better than just look­ing at the panel.

Jack mentioned he felt bad after the spin chair — He wonders if we are becoming sensitive again—I told him I had felt that way last time and believed it’s because we have not been doing flips, somersaults, spins as much. We will start doing them the last 4 or 5 days.

Owen & Jack could not reach wives for private comm. because all the wives were going out to dinner. They will try tomorrow.

I timed a fastest time from wardroom table to atm and got 11 sec. From csm to wardroom 15 sec. Fastest.

Owen was measuring insensible weight loss during sleep again.


Day off. Good day—We worked at steady pace—1 erep cancelled because of weather, the other very cloudy. Jack shot a site that they did not send up because they thought he would not be able to see it. Owen has been excit­ed by seeing such fantastic aurora due to the big flares we have had recently. We found out in the science conference that the big x flares we had the oth­er day peaked 3 times in the night before we saw it. We got it just after peak. Today on the atm we got 3 flares—2 mi class just at the last pass and Owen stayed up late to finish the synoptic the next rev. Jack earlier had an eruptive prominence that was large enough to see with the Hydrogen-alpha zoomed fully out (min magnification) You could not see it move but in a few min­utes it would be in a different place. It was the only thing Jack said that he had seen move on the sun. It was bigger than any we had in the simulator.

Gratia told Jack not give up hope on a mission extension. Keep up a good attitude and in good health.


Looking back over the last few weeks I’ve had to laugh—we’ve been like hogs in slop—one day we had erep, a flare, and aurora all in one pass. Once Jack saw both north and southern lights in the same day—he may be the only man in history to do so. I got the man in space record.

Tonight, I wonder what Dr. Buchanan is going to say. Today I rode the bike when Jack was doing M092—No real problem at all but the Earth doc­tors just don’t think operationally — my guess is they want full attention to watching the subject. Owen thought it was bad form too because it was not called for in the experiment protocol.

Good erep—did a dry lake near Boulder Colorado and also took data on a hilly site near by—These multiple sites are fun—Got to quit using the worlds targets & shoot on the air.

Did a TV pass over the Sahelian zone (a 500 mile strip just below the Sahara desert) running from the Atlantic to the Red Sea where a 4 to 5 year drought is causing hunger, disease, etc. We hope images from future space vehicles will help these situations — not make it rain but maybe aid in locat­ing potential subsurface water areas, water runoff routes, and so forth. The state department had requested it and wanted a more “promising” speech but I thought best to play it straight.

I have been doing TV of our operations for SL4 guys—it hasn’t had much class but I hope it will help them. Just showing on TV what things should help them get going faster and smoother up here.

Owen brought out his tape with Helen Mary’s voice playing like she was up here—it started with her muttering over the comm box about the inter­action between the comm boxes and causing a squeal. Then she said, “Hel­lo, Houston, this is Skylab.” Long pause. “Hello, Houston, this is Skylab.” Now Bob Crippen, who was in on the joke says, “What’s going on up there.” Then Helen says, “Houston, is that you, Bob — (Owen had them made up for several of the Capcoms) I haven’t talked to you in a long time.” (pause) Bob says, “Where are you?” Helen replies up here in Skylab, the boys need­ed a hot lunch so I brought them one.

“Boy Bob, this forest fires are fantastic. Smoke as far as you can see, and the sunsets, they are magnificent.”

Then in a low voice Helen continues “I better go now. I see the boys drift­ing up to the Command Module. They don’t like me talking to the ground. Bye now.”

It was effective, but the ground just changed the subject. It was kind of a letdown.

Owen has a tape of continual laughter, you know the kind, and one with party sounds. We are going to use the party one when we hear we are extend­ed. We can tell them we are going.

On Sunday Jack always has the Capcom call his Sunday school class at the Harris County boys home and tell them he’s thinking of them—He plays some of the religious music he has up at the atm by himself.


This was a good day right up to the end. I had a М092/171 scheduled after din­ner (supper) and at about 2 min from completion I had to punch out. I had a very warm tingly feeling in my arms and shoulders. Don’t know whether it was too much hard driving today or just what—my urine output 2 days ago was larger by 100% my normal—It even beat Owen & Jack. It proba­bly means something. Also I found a knot on the left back side of my neck just below the point where the neck joins the head.

Then while I was riding the bike Bob Crippen, the Capcom, said we had a teleprinter message and to check it—he obviously did not know what it said as it was from the Flight Director Don Puddy reading “Crip’s birthday is today and we have a surprise for him. Maybe you could sing Happy Birth­day from orbit. (Incidentally, our wives and kids were at mcc tonight.) We rounded up Owen’s sound effects tape, found the party sounds and when he came up the next site we played the tape, told him we were having a par­ty in his honor and sang Happy Birthday. Jack stood back and hesitated to sing for some reason. Crip was moved I could tell—they brought out a cake for him—He is one swell guy, and efficient too.

This was the last comm. pass tonight so he told us that he hated to be the bearer of bad news but our request to stay longer had been considered but that it was decided to hold to the present entry schedule of Day 60. We answered with a simple, “ok, thanks.”

We talked of it the rest of the night—I ran around saying how great that was—now we could get home—Now we could get off the food—our Com­mand Module would never last more than 60 days—Owen said, “He never thought we would be extended because there was no positive reason for doing so, atm film used up, more erep sites than ever thought possible, we’re all healthy, all corollary experiments overkilled—to sum up—more risk with

little to gain—we could not think of any directorate but our own who would support us. atm wants us back for data to look at prior to SL4, erep wants its data, medical wants our bodies. Jack was disappointed.

Got call from the ground wanting to know who had been riding the ergom – eter during Jack’s M092/171—I said me. I knew Paul would ask about it lat­er (by the way, this occurred yesterday) tonight Paul wondered if I thought I could monitor M092 from the bike—I said yes, but that I knew the med­ical directorate would not like it. I asked if he could ride a bicycle and car­ry on a conversation at the same time. He said he went over to the simula­tor and tried it & it seemed ok to him.

When you push off the floor to go to the dome, it’s flatfooted and reminds me of the way Superman did it on tv.

In Apollo you go for just a visit or trip to zero G. In Skylab you live it.

Morale a little down today because of the mission duration decision. All of us moving a little slow—except in erep I got my alternate site after look­ing for chlorophyll bloom in Chesapeake Bay then almost got another site but the gimbal down ran out. We know our sites and its fun to work on erep — Jack & I both have 191 sites tomorrow—Jack has been down because he has had on nadir swaths lately.

I zeroed in on Seville, Spain, Marseilles, France, and Milan Italy this morning—Did not get Milan, too hazy, saw the airport though.

Got several changes to the entry check list—going to use the docked dap while undocked to maneuver and to hold attitude — must still use the old undocked dap for the burn—I enter it at 1 min to the burn.

I spent an hour or so reading the procedures. I will start to work and prac­tice them in the csm in the days to come—the other evening I spent an hour or so in the csm touching each switch as I went thru the entry check lists. Nice to find out one does not forget too rapidly—I knew them all and felt at home—But somehow tense. I have noticed I get cold when I get tense—In an airplane in bad weather just prior to a landing approach I always get cold and have to turn up the heat—once in the approach I forget and warm up. It happens all the time, and I guess it is an evolutionary protective mecha­nism—blood internal to support life, external flow minimized so cuts would not bleed excessively.

Had to reduce Owen’s schedule tomorrow—they had him doing post

sleep, miio (blood draw), hematology and urine specific gravity. Two hours assigned for a three hour job—My evening comm. with Sue is over the Van­guard —ship off some of these sites have good comm. Other just don’t seem to have it. Guam’s is one we have difficulty with.

The coolant leak in the csm has dried up — we do not operate the suit cir­cuit heat exchanger every 7 days any longer so the leak is probably in that valve.


Had 3 or 4 bumps on my head for the last couple of days—think it may be soap drying on my scalp because I have been washing it with soap a lot late­ly & the washrag rinse just doesn’t seem to do the job. Will use the brush & just water for a few days. It is necessary to learn a new way of life up here in many ways not always preconceived. Here we live at zero G and in Apol­lo we just visit or take a trip at zero G.

Jack & I almost pulled a great trick on erep. I had just taken the sched­uled site (Mono Lake) and an extra site + granite outcrop (Walker Lake) and finished a nadir swath (Boy does Jack burn when he has those) and he sug­gested we swap for a minute and he would get his site up in South Dakota. He had mentioned this just prior to the pass but I didn’t like the idea—Any­way as the time approached we swapped positions — I fumbled with the c&D pad but didn’t miss a switch —Jack found the big dragon-shaped res­ervoir but his site located between the dragon’s back legs was barely cover with clouds. We switched back—we lamented the weather the rest of the day because it was executed properly but could not be completed. We will try it again before coming home. Looking for the sites in the T-38S has paid off handsomely.

We then did T-20 suited—suiting up was long as was strapping in—we used the modified umbilical and found little tether dynamics—will be a good fix for SL4—Jack & I hope we do not do 509 again—we did not fin­ish till about 8 o’clock (1300Z) so we then ate and put the equipment up & exercised and got in bed about 30 min late.

Houston said they were going to slip our circadian rhythm around by get­ting up 2 hrs earlier on entry-6 days and entry-8 days for a total 4 hrs. We didn’t have to do it this way but if we can make it work. We thought one 4 hr earlier wake up would do the job better but it lost out—we can make this work though.

Owen commented on no time off & made up list for day off— This I trans­mitted to the ground along with a request for our day off (erep & atm) and get the trouble shooting done and all tests by entry -5 days. Our plan is to work entry whether they do or not and do other things after.


Eat, sleep, exercise and entry.

Jack was saying his memory was good but it just doesn’t last long. Anoth­er of his favorites is “I have a photographic memory but it just hasn’t developed.”

Haven’t felt too spunky the last few days. Owen mentioned it—I sug­gested it had something to do with my high urine volume 4 days ago—He thinks not, but that it is hard work, long hours—He may be right because we have hitting it steady for almost 2 months. I may go take a little nap pri­or to SO19 & M092 today.

Had a hard time going to sleep—felt guilty emotionally. Intellectually I knew I should but emotionally I had difficulty.

The M092 was the best I’ve done. Guess the rest was good but probably the greatest reason for the difference this time and last was last I had gone all day on afterburner and the test was just prior to bed. I had essentially run out of steam. Overconfidence will get you if you don’t watch out.

Should we fly the paper airplanes? NASA would love to show it on TV—but would it convey the mission the taxpayer is paying for? I do not know—Owen will have to decide.


One of the spiders died today—Anita, we think. The prime spider Ara­bella who is in the vial is ok—She had more time out of the vial. Got out earlier, and guess just remained healthy.

Tried to set up private comm. with Sue tonight—3 different sites—Either

1 could read them and they not me, or vice versa—or nobody read any­body — the ground always says to check our configuration. It hasn’t been wrong in a month. Wonder if there is any follow up on this.


Day off. We did our usual 2 erep & atm plus not much else. We go to bed

2 hours early tonight to shift our circadian rhythm around —We did not want this but can live with it. I went to the csm to get a Seconal to sleep on time.—Owen couldn’t find the ows Seconal—it was in some other drug cans that the ground had him move. Later he inventoried some drugs—This sort of thing always puts him in a bad mood. He gave the ground a partial hard time.

Pedaled the ergometer for 95 straight minutes, to establish a new world’s record for pedaling non-stop around the world — and as Jack said, I did it without wheels too. Owen was interested and thought he might do it lat­er in the week when our orbit had decayed and then beat my time by a sec­ond or less. Bruce McCandless pointed out that he must exceed by at least 5% to establish his claim.

I also took some movies of me exercising on the mki, the mkii and the mkiii for use later in post flight pictures. Need to do others of acrobatics soon.

Owen did some good TV of how the TV close up lens could be used medi­cally — He looked at Jack’s eye, ear, nose, throat & teeth and discussed how the TV might be used by doctors to aid us in diagnosis and in treatment of problems we might have, say, an eye injury, a tooth extraction, suturing a wound or any number of things from a broken bone to skin rash. Owen has a mind that dwells on the scientific aspect of all that he does. He knows much about much—he is interested in all branches of sciences. He is a great back of the envelope calculator — able to reduce most problems to their sim­plest elements. He has done great school room TV demonstrations of zero G water, magnets, his spiders.

On the erep c&D panel was

erep CUE CARD S192 Door—Open S191 Door—Open S190 Window—Open Tape Recorder Power — On


Jack said he felt good today. I had noticed he was not as happy as usual the last four days. He says it’s because of sleep lost.

Our circadian rhythm is in good shape today after the shift. The contin­uous day/night cycle makes it easer than on Earth — Also we are the only ones we see and we are all on the same schedule. Maybe that’s why days off that we work are no sweat, everyone we see is working.

Found out today that we had 6 hrs from tunnel closeout to undock—then і hr 45 min from there to deorbit burn then 24 min to 400,000 feet. A nice slow timeline that will allow us to get set up, double/triple checked for our entry. — Maybe we should get up 2 hours later—well, we’ll see.

atm operations have become much simplified the last week—with all the solar activity the film is gone.—It was a peak on the sun and we were lucky to see it.

We have had the opportunity and were prepared — who could ask for more. They call it luck but PREPARATiON/opportunity must both be pres­ent. I am very satisfied.


Owen & Jack were doing TV of paper airplane construction and flying. The trick is not to cause them to have lift or they will pull up into a loop—with more space they would continue in loop after loop. The designs were differ­ent than we’ve all made as kids—more folds in the nose and on the inside edge of the wings.

We interrupted our work to do some special TV—I took 2 of the M509/T-20 pressure bottles put a twin boom sunshield pole between them and taped that up. I then put some red tape and marked 500 on each. We now had a 1000-lb barbell. We showed Jack with Owen and I lifting the barbell on Jack. He grimaced till he was red as he lifted it up. We then moved it so it was to his front and he lifted it again as he came to full up he released his triangle shoe locks and kept going off the top of the camera. We then set up the atm for 2-3 minutes and did the Bean push up—both hands first, then with Jack on my back, then also Owen on his back — then a one arm push up then the finale a no arm push up with all 3. The piece-de-resistance was a 3 man high with Owen at the bottom, me in the middle and Jack on the top. We had to mount the TV on the first floor and do our stand up on the forward compartment floor to fit all of us in the field of view. Owen was great. He wobbled around like we were toppling. We now must put it all on movies to use after we get back. — Funny, you never know what movies people will find funny—It gives a welcome relief from the science we do.

At lunch Jack was talking about “stretch gut”—wherein he postulates since our stomach has not been pulled down for 2 months by gravity the tendons that hold it up will be weak and when we get home to ig, the stom­ach will drop and fall out over our pants. We laughed and further thought

if that happened our testicles would have the same problem in the scrotum. “Stretch nuts” I guess. Jack said he finally found out why people had trou­ble sleeping in space—no gravity to hold the eyelids down when the body gets tired of doing it. Up they come and you wake up.

Just went to the cm to put our pants that we will wear on the ship on our couches so that as we come up with items we wanted to take home we could put them right in the pockets rather than have items hidden all over the s/c. We have been discussing bringing Vance, Don & Bill’s patches (U. S.A. flag, NASA symbol) home for them but we wanted them to fly the maximum distance so should we leave them for SL4 to bring? We have been thinking what to bring to the troops we work with.

When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied, “Only stand out of my light.”


Woke up ~2 hrs early today. It’s our last time shift to fit the post-landing medical checks. The doctors are on the boat right now, heaven knows doing what. Waiting for our landing in 6 more days. Owen told Paul to take along his Scopedex and to do head movements.


Out the wardroom window we saw a bright red light with a bright/dim peri­od of 10 sec. It got brighter and drifted along with us for 20 min. or more. I said it was Mars but Jack & Owen said a satellite—it was because it also was moving relative to the stars. It may have been very near, it was the bright­est object we’ve seen.

Also saw a laser beam from Goddard. It looked like a long green rod per­haps as long as your fingernail held at arm’s length when viewed end on, that is 20 times longer than in length (which was parallel to the horizon) than in width. Tomorrow the ground will tell us that Goddard did not have our trajectory right and did not point at us—we may have seen the side view somehow. Owen said at the time a laser should appear only as a bright point of light and not a bar.

Entry – 5 day. csm checks went well—somehow I knew they would. We only look at the g&n and the real problem might be the rcs. Well, we’ll know soon enough. There’s no reason to believe anything’s wrong with the two remaining quads A&c. Got to bed an hour and Уг late tonight because

of late scheduled meals and not wanting to exercise prior to M092.—I talk­ed with the ground about watching our meals and sleep periods and exer­cise periods and keeping them on time because of the physically demand­ing features of returning to the ig on Earth next Tuesday. The days can’t pass fast enough. We have done our job and are ready to get back. At least I am, I don’t know about Jack but Owen would like to stay.

erep went well till I got to talking too much then I turned off 190 (the camera) rather than 192 (the multispectral scanner). Wish we could come up with a big play on erep like on atm but we have not had the weather.

Took Seconal because I wanted to get to sleep. It worked.


Got up feeling a little high from the Seconal and went right to the atm. Did ok, usually make mistakes early in the morning.

Thinking about eva all day, did our pre-prep—installed new umbilicals without water. We will use 02 flow cooling for the first time. Dick Truly mentioned a 4 hour eva limit before this but we should finish well before the time. I need to give my suit a good last minute check out. The drying and desiccants have helped my confidence with their integrity.

Had a TV press conference come off well—all of us had question asked us and we answered well I think. We are going to have many more of those the next few months—glad Jack and I are going to Russia in November. Wish Sue could go.

Found out where Elba and St. Helena Islands are—Dick Truly looked it up.

Helen Mary mentioned that the office’s reorganization had begun already. 5 groups, don’t know where I’ll be. Glad to be backing the Russian flight.

Our last erep today. U. S. & Sicily & Ethopia I saw an active volcano on Sicily and the Aswan Dam in Egypt. It is the most well defined man made object I’ve seen to date.


Sprinting a Marathon

You lost a crewman? How could you lose a crewman inside a spacecraft?

Skylab III Mission Announcement

The third manned Skylab mission is scheduled for launch November io
at 11:40 a. m. EST for a mission duration of 60 days or more,

William Schneider, Skylab Program Director, announced.

The mission will be planned as a 60-day open-ended mission
with consumables aboard to provide for as many as 85 days.

Mission extensions would be considered on the 56th, 63rd, 70th and 77th days of the
flight based on the medical well being of the crew,
consumables and work load. The extension of the mission to
85 days would substantially increase the scientific return.

NASA—Press Release, 26 October 19/3

Skylab ill was to break new ground in mission duration and accomplish­ments. And it would do it with an all-rookie crew. When they launched, the three crewmembers did not have a single day of spaceflight experience amongst them. But when they returned, each would have spent more con­tinuous time in space than any other human being.

For the mission’s commander, Jerry Carr, and its pilot, Bill Pogue, the Skylab assignment started off as practically a consolation prize. “I was ten­tatively scheduled to fly on Apollo 19,” Carr recalled. “Our crew was to be Fred Haise, the commander; Bill Pogue, the Command Module pilot; and

me, the Lunar Module pilot. We got started on that assignment and began our training program. Then if my memory serves me correctly, it was around 1970, early 1970 or so, when it was decided that Apollos 18, 19, and 20 would be canceled. So that was a bad day at Black Rock for the three of us. We had lost our opportunity to go to the moon.

“We moped around for quite a few weeks,” he said. “Then Tom Stafford called me into his office and informed me that I was to be the command­er of the third Skylab mission and asked, ‘Do you think you can work with Bill Pogue and Ed Gibson?’ And I said, ‘Of course I can.’ At that time they took us off our roles as the backup crew for Apollo 16 and put another crew in there, and we began focusing on the Skylab mission.

“I was delighted to get a seat, and I was absolutely floored that they would select me to be a commander because there hadn’t been a rookie command­er at NASA since, what was it? I guess it was probably Armstrong on Gemi­ni 8. And so I was really flabbergasted to be selected and very happy to do it. What delighted me the most was that I was going to be working with Al Bean, Pete Conrad, and people like that again, which was really a won­derful thing.”

Ed Gibson recalled: “When assigned to the mission, I knew I was in fast company. Bill Pogue initially appeared to be just an average mild-mannered mathematician, who he had been; but he was also once grounded for flying too low behind enemy lines, was an Air Force test pilot, and flew with the Thunderbirds. He is a sharp, aggressive guy. Jerry Carr had a good educa­tion in aeronautics and was a Marine aviator, which pretty much said it all. The all-rookie crew aspect didn’t faze me. I was just happy to get a seat, and flying with guys I really respected. In retrospect, I lucked out. I got to do great science, be fully immersed in all aspects of astronaut activities, and fly high-performance aircraft. It just couldn’t get any better than that!”

While the three rookie astronauts were excited to be getting their chance to fly, they had little idea that before Skylab ill even launched, it already had two major strikes against it—the past and the future. The strike in the future was the next great thing looming over the horizon—the Space Shut­tle program. Early development of the Shuttle was already underway by the time of Skylab, and the orbiter contract had been signed the month before the sl-i launch with a critical design review scheduled for 1975. However, the program still faced opposition in Congress. A major part of the system was a one-shot pilot-controlled landing from orbit with no go-around capability. There were those who felt that landing would be too large a challenge, par­ticularly if the pilot were suffering from space sickness. The Skylab ill crew had been made aware of how important it was that they not give the orbit – er’s enemies ammunition against the program in that respect.

The past affected them in the form of the two Skylab missions that flew before them. Both Skylab I and II had been behind their timeline early in flight. In both cases there were obvious factors that contributed to these slow starts. The Skylab I crew had to deal with the high temperatures and power shortages on a crippled spacecraft. The Skylab II crew was slowed by motion sickness. Those obvious factors, though, obscured the fact that the major cause was simply that people had to get considerable on-the-job training to efficiently perform tasks in weightlessness—especially when large habitable volumes are involved. With repetition the second crew in particular became extremely efficient and was accomplishing more than their scheduled sci­ence work by the end of their mission. While the actual factors involved in the slow starts of the first two crews would become a major issue once the third crew was in orbit, the efficiency the second crew developed over the course of the mission had an impact on the third crew while Carr and his colleagues were still on the ground.

Upon learning of the 150 percent return of the Bean crew, scientists and mission planners saw an opportunity. Clearly, they had not sent enough work for the second crew to do—and they began making sure the third crew was going to have plenty of work to accomplish. “We got to Skylab ill, which was going to be the last mission in the program,” flight director Neil Hutchinson recalled in a NASA oral history interview. “The train was leav­ing the station, and all kinds of experiments and experimenters were run­ning for a seat.”

In addition NASA decided to use the third crew’s flight to capitalize on another opportunity. In late December 1973 and early January 1974 the Com­et Kohoutek would be passing through the inner solar system. Tasking the third crew with observing Kohoutek from Skylab would let the agen­cy show off the potential of orbital astronomy by performing an unprece­dented feat—no comet had been observed from space before. “Some other training we got at the last minute included that on Comet Kohoutek,” Pogue recalled. “Early in the year it was discovered at the Hamburg Observatory in West Germany that this comet was headed toward the sun and was going to reach its perihelion about Christmas Day of 1973. There was a lot of talk about the period of the comet being about two thousand years, which led to speculation that it was actually the Christmas comet, the one cited in Bib­lical stories of the new star. At any rate, we did some studying and training for that experiment as well.”

Press releases from the time illustrate the situation that confronted the third crew.

nasa-jsc Release No.: 73-107

nasa today announced tentative plans to observe the Comet Kohoutek during the Skylab iii mission which is planned for launch on or about November у from the Kennedy Space Center. The November date is the original planned launch date for Skylab iii. The Comet Kohoutek was identified earlier this year and will be clearly visible from Earth. It is expected to be the brightest object in the night sky except for the Moon in late December and early January. Skylab’s Apollo Telescope Mount instruments, designed to obtain data on the Sun, will observe Kohoutek during its nearest proximity to the Sun late in December.

Meeting the Challenge

i. State-of-the-Art Instruments

The principal investigators designed and had constructed instruments with cutting-edge capabilities. When designed, the instruments that made up the observatory had the highest feasible resolution in space, time, and wavelength and best combination of capabilities to meet the observing challenge.

In the design phase the potential observers, the astronauts assigned to work on the atm, had little impact on the design except in two important areas: the instrument controls and displays and real-time data fed back to

Meeting the Challenge

45- A solar flare image captured by the Apollo Telescope Mount.

the observer. As the integration of the observer into the design matured, the mandate for an integrated, simultaneous operation of the individual instru­ments was manifested in the instrument control and display (c&d) design. Design engineers each wanted their own c&D real estate for their instru­ment to do with as they saw fit. “We, the crew, wanted to stress the func­tional similarities in the way each instrument was operated as well as the sequence of each control operation,” Ed Gibson explained. “After ‘spirited discussions’ and hard work on both sides, we arrived at a ‘functional (verti­cally aligned)—sequential (horizontal order of operations)’ layout. For both training and in-flight operation, this layout proved to be highly effective.”

With today’s computer capabilities it is hard to imagine that many of the operational modes and exposure times for the instruments had to be frozen into the design many years before launch and could not be changed as knowl­edge increased before and during flight. However, the Pis did an exceptional job of incorporating a wide range of possibilities into their design.

Despite the thought, sophistication, and expense that went into the obser­vatory, the crew still managed to demonstrate the adage, “When the going

gets tough, the tough use duct tape.” Crib sheets, Polaroid cameras, and food containers were among the many items that were accommodated at the c&D panel by the astronauts’ universal tool—duct tape. However, when it was taken outside on an eva, the glue on the tape was either frozen solid by the cold blackness of night or turned to soup by the heat of direct sun.

Aircraft-borne Lasers to

Profile Earth and Sea during Final Skylab Flight—

As Skylab’s third crew collects data on the Earth’s resources from 270 miles out in space, two aircraft from the Johnson Space Center (jsc) will skim near the surface using laser instruments to provide an exact profile ofthe land and water at more than a dozen sites. During the coming months, nasa aircraft will use laserprofilometers over portions of the North Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexi­co, the Puerto Rican Trench, and the Great Salt Lake to support Skylab remote­sensing passes over the same areas.

Skylab Gypsy Moth Research Project—

One thousand gypsy moth eggs in two special vials will be launched aboard the third and final Skylab mission on November 10. The first moths in space are part ofa research project sponsored by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricul­tural Research (aphis) in cooperation with nasa. Agriculture scientists are try­ing to find out ifthe state ofweightlessness might be the key to altering the gypsy moth’s life cycle. If weightlessness does prove to be the factor, the key point may be found in rearing insects by the missions and thus controlling a whole class of insect pests with similar life cycles.

Third Skylab Crew to Expand Knowledge
of Earth’s Resources—

Astronauts Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson and William Pogue will be well equipped to survey the Earth during a final Skylab mission that could last nearly three months. Their training included 40 hours of special lectures on Earth observa­tions and they’re taking along a detailed handbook for viewing Earth from space and the largest store of film and computer tapes ever supplied for a Skylab mis­sion. Meanwhile, the 20,000 Earth photographs and 24 miles of computer tape obtained during the two previous Skylab flights will be undergoing extensive analysis by iff Principal Investigators and their staffs in the United States and 18 foreign countries. Before the first ereppass of the final Skylab mission can be undertaken, Science Pilot Ed Gibson, assisted by his fellow crewmembers, will attempt to repair the antenna drive system for the microwave radiometer-scat- terometer-altimeter (sipj). Gibson will work on the Sip3 instrument during the crew’s first walk outside the space station, scheduled for the week following launch. Pilot Bill Pogue will join him outside.

Observer Feedback

“The flight crewmen were provided an exceptional array of highly useful data,” Gibson explained. “We had displays in white light and at a wavelength called hydrogen-alpha, both very useful and also visible on the ground. We were provided individual displays of the sun in extreme ultraviolet and x-rays as well as a display of the corona. Lastly we had a highly versatile display in the ultraviolet that allowed us to read the intensity of radiation across the ultraviolet spectrum at a point or over a region of the sun at a sin­gle wavelength.”

Although all Pis firmly supported the central role of the in-flight observ­er in the data acquisition, the astronauts had an insatiable appetite for dis­play of far more real-time data than the instrument designers could afford or provide without degrading reliability. In the design phase a classic chick – en-and-egg controversy ensued: “Why do you astronauts need to see the atmosphere of the sun in real-time? We’ve never seen any rapid changes from down here!” versus “But we don’t know for sure what the sun’s atmosphere is doing unless we look at it. If we only take data at preprogrammed times, we’re likely to miss some very important observations.” Over many months the spirited discussions oscillated between lofty observational philosophy and detailed nut-and-bolts design. Fortunately, the instrument designers were able to make a few accommodations, which, knowing what we know now, produced some very important real-time understanding of the sun for both ground and in-flight observers and the capture of data on events that otherwise would have been missed.