Encyclopedia Astronautica
1972.01.19 - A Skylab crew news conference; preparations on schedule for April 1973 launch.


A Skylab crew news conference, with prime and backup crewmen, was held at MSC. Astronaut Charles Conrad, Jr., said preparations were on schedule for an April 1973 launch. Contractor checkouts and tests of hardware were expected to be completed for delivery to KSC in July. Skylab would carry some 20 000 pieces of stowed equipment on board to provide life support for nine men for 140 days. 'So it all goes up at one time, and we've got a great deal of work to do, not only to learn how to operate this vehicle but also all the experiments in it. It became apparent that we could not be 100-percent cross-trained as we had been in Apollo, so we've . . . defined some areas for each guy to become expert in. That allowed us to balance out the training hours.

Right now . . . we have some 2000 training hours per man defined. We've been working on the basic training for the past year . . . our training hardware . . . going to be available to us for training . . . about February 1.' The commander would have overall responsibility for the mission and would be a command and service modules expert. The science pilot would be expert in all medical equipment and in the Apollo telescope mount and its associated hardware. The pilot would be expert in Orbital Workshop systems and electrical systems. Remaining experiments would be divided among crew members according to availability and choice. Prime crewmen for the first mission were Charles Conrad, Jr., Joseph P. Kerwin, and Paul J. Weitz; second mission, Alan L. Bean, Owen K. Garriott, and Jack R. Lousma; third mission, Gerald P. Carr, Edward G. Gibson, and William R. Pogue. Backup crews were Russell L. Schweickart, F. Story Musgrave, and Bruce McCandless II, first mission; Vance D. Brand, William B. Lenoir, and Don L. Lind, both second and third missions. Kerwin, Garriott, Gibson, Musgrave, and Lenoir were scientist astronauts; the other Skylab crew members were pilot astronauts.

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