Encyclopedia Astronautica
1973.09.25 - All primary mission objectives for Skylab 3 were accomplished.


These objectives were to

(1) Perform unmanned Saturn Workshop operations by obtaining data for evaluating the performance of the unmanned Saturn Workshop and obtaining solar astronomy data through unmanned ATM observations. The photo at the left shows a most welcome sight to all returning astronauts from Skylab missions-parachutes. Here the Skylab 3 parachutes unfurled before opening at 10 000 m. Right, the Skylab 3 crew (left to right), Jack Lousma, Owen Garriott, and Alan Bean, are pictured after their recovery by the U.S.S. New Orleans about 300 km southwest of San Diego.

(2) Reactivate the orbital assembly in Earth orbit by operating the orbital assembly (Orbital Workshop plus command and service module) as a habitable space structure for up to 59 days after the launch of the second-visit spacecraft and obtaining data for evaluating crew mobility and work capability during both intravehicular and extravehicular activities.

(3) Obtain medical data on the crew for use in extended duration manned space flights by obtaining medical data for determining the effects on the crew of a space flight of up to 59 days' duration and obtaining medical data for determining if a subsequent Skylab mission of greater than 59 days' duration is feasible and advisable.

(4) Perform inflight experiments by obtaining ATM solar astronomy data for continuing and extending solar studies beyond the limits of Earth-based observations; obtaining Earth-resources data for continuing and extending multisensor observation of the Earth from low-Earth orbit; and performing the assigned scientific, engineering, technology, and Department of Defense experiments.

A summary of the objectives accomplished showed a very high degree of completion, especially considering the reduction of experiment time early in the mission caused by the motion-sickness problems. After the first few days, the crew quickly caught up and, during the remainder of the mission, exceeded the preplanned workload. For many experiments, the baseline requirements were exceeded, and a number of experiments planned for the third visit were accomplished.

From the successful completion of the Skylab 3 mission, the following conclusions were reached:

(1) The ability of the crew to correct systems difficulties by actions such as deployment of the twin-pole sunshield, replacement of the rate gyro package, repair of the teleprinter, and repair of the ATM experiment door enabled the second visit to proceed as planned and again demonstrated the advantage of having man on board the vehicle.

(2) Revisits provided the opportunity to correct hardware problems, restructure objectives, and revise replaceable commodities based on actual experience.

(3) Psychological and physical conditions resulting from the 59-day mission indicated no constraints for longer duration flights.

(4) Ordinary hand tools could have been used effectively in place of special tools in the zero-g environment when making repairs and adjustments.

(5) The limitations of noncontinuous ground station coverage imposed restrictions on data return, systems management, and uplink information.

(6) The skills learned in underwater training were almost identical to the skills used in actual performance of tasks during EVA and, if instructions were adequate, a crewman could perform extravehicular tasks for which he had not specifically trained. Tasks were somewhat easier to perform in zero-g than in underwater training.

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