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  • New crews arrive at the International Space Station every couple of months, so it seems

  • like we've got the whole living-in-orbit thing figured out.

  • But America's first space station fell apart when it launched, had a crew rebel, and crashed

  • back to Earth before NASA could save it.

  • Its name was Skylab, and space programs worldwide learned a lot about how to keep astronauts

  • happy, healthy, and productive from the three crews who lived on board.

  • Humanity's first space station was Salyut 1, launched by the Soviets in 1971.

  • But the missions had some problems, and Salyut 1 was deorbited later that year after only

  • one crew made it on board.

  • Two years later, the US got in the game with Skylab, which launched on May 14th, 1973.

  • Skylab was a Saturn IV-B rocket booster that was adapted so astronauts could live inside.

  • It was much roomier than anything in space before, giving the astronauts room to shower,

  • sleep, do experiments, and really experience microgravity like no one ever had.

  • Skylab's power came from two large solar panel arrays.

  • And shields protected it from solar radiation and micrometeoroidsthe bits of dust that

  • become shooting stars in Earth's atmosphere and can turn an unprotected spaceship into

  • Swiss cheese.

  • But the mission got off to a rocky start when it launched: one of the shields fell off,

  • which tore off one of the solar panel arrays and jammed the other one.

  • Skylab made it into orbit, but was uninhabitable without those piecesit basically had

  • no power, and the Sun heated the inside to over 90 degrees Celsius.

  • When the first crew was sent up later that month, NASA had to figure out how the heck

  • to do major repairs on something in orbit.

  • Over the course of several spacewalks, the astronauts fixed the jammed solar panel and

  • deployed a bright orange sunshade to cool down the inside.

  • NASA learned a lot from these first big in-space repairs, which definitely weren't the last

  • of their kind.

  • The ISS, for example, needs regular repairs, and the Hubble Space Telescope had a faulty

  • mirror that needed to be fixed in space before it could take clear photographs.

  • Once they made it livable, Skylab's first crew hopped on board and got down to business.

  • Or, really, they got down to science.

  • More than 80 experiments were conducted on Skylab, including biology, physics, and astronomy

  • experiments that were proposed by high-school students.

  • But there were also experiments for professional scientists, like the Apollo Telescope Mount,

  • which first detected things like holes in the solar corona.

  • It was the precursor to the ISS's SOLAR instruments that monitor the Sun's brightness

  • and intensity, which can affect climate down here on Earth.

  • Another thing NASA wanted to know was how people's bodies responded to being in space

  • for weeks or months at a time.

  • Salyut 1's crew was in space for 23 days, which was a world record at the time.

  • But each of Skylab's crews blew past that record, with the final crew spending a full

  • 84 days in orbit.

  • With that much time in microgravity, NASA could see evidence of bone density and body

  • mass loss, which happen because astronauts' bodies don't have to fight against gravity

  • and other stresses as much.

  • Nowadays, astronauts do certain regular exercises in space to combat this problem, but space

  • agencies are still researching ways to keep them healthy.

  • Skylab's final crew launched in November 1973 – only a few months after the station

  • was put in orbitand they had a… rough relationship with their bosses.

  • They hid being sick in space, which is a big no-no when you don't have access to medical

  • help.

  • And they were also exhausted by the long, 16-hour work days, so they couldn't possibly

  • accomplish all the tasks they were commanded to do.

  • Eventually, they rebelledturning off all communications with NASA for a day to

  • relax.

  • Of course, NASA wasn't happy about this, and none of those astronauts ever went to

  • space again.

  • But the incident also taught NASA some important lessons:

  • Working in space can be slow, especially for astronauts who haven't been there before,

  • and you can't treat humans like robots.

  • So, future crews were given much more balanced schedules.

  • But after that crew returned to Earth in 1974, Skylab stayed empty.

  • NASA had hoped they could send up more astronauts on an early Shuttle mission in 1977 or 1978,

  • but the program got delayed.

  • Plus, they ignored researchers' predictions about more solar activitywhich expanded

  • Earth's atmosphere enough that it started dragging Skylab down.

  • By the time NASA considered sending a Shuttle to push Skylab into a higher, stable orbit,

  • there just wasn't enough time.

  • So on July 11th, 1979, uninhabited for more than five years, Skylab re-entered the atmosphere

  • and broke apart over Australia and the Indian Ocean.

  • Skylab set the stage for future space stations like Mir and the ISS, and showed that people

  • really could live in space for a while and do important scientific research.

  • As long as you give them time to rest, of course.

  • Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow Space, and thanks especially to our patrons

  • on Patreon who help make this show possible.

  • If you want to help us keep making episodes like this, just go to

  • to learn more.

  • And don't forget to go to and subscribe!

New crews arrive at the International Space Station every couple of months, so it seems


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B1 中級 美國腔

天空实验室:第一批生活在太空的美国人(Skylab: The First Americans Living In Space)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 07 月 01 日