Monday, September 21, 2009


OK, I won't remind you of the funky 1969 movie of the same name... but NASA was always aware of the possibility that a crew could be stranded in space. With the increased duration flights of Skylab, they commissioned Rockwell (builder of the Command Module) to do something about it.

The hypothetical Skylab Rescue Mission would utilize a CM with the storage lockers behind the seats removed, and two extra couches installed. Two astronauts would launch on a Saturn 1B, dock with Skylab (or the ailing CM), transfer the crew of three, and bring all 5 men home.

During the Skylab 3 mission, they almost had a chance to test the craft. The Skylab 3 service module began leaking maneuvering fuel, reducing the working ACS thrusters to just two sets, the minimum allowable. NASA actually assembled a Saturn 1B with the modified CSM atop it in the VAB, prepped to move to the pad whenever needed. As it turned out, the Command Module attached to Skylab was able to bring home its crew after the 59-day mission, but it was a close call.

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Welcome to the Missions to the Moon book blog. This is a place to re-live the heady days of the Apollo and Soyuz lunar programs- perhaps the crowning achievements of the 20th Century. Many blog entries will include a new downloadable image or artifact from the space age- items rarely seen and not available in print. It's all in the spirit of my newest book, Missions to the Moon- to remember the great adventure of the Golden Age of space exploration, and ponder what wonders await us in space.

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