Skylab was the first United States space station, launched by NASA, occupied for about 24 weeks between May 1973 and February 1974. It was operated by three separate three-astronaut crews: Skylab 2, Skylab 3, and Skylab 4. Major operations included an orbital workshop, a solar observatory, Earth observation, and hundreds of experiments. Unable to be re-boosted by the Space Shuttle, which was not ready until 1981, Skylab's orbit eventually decayed, and it disintegrated in the atmosphere on July 11, 1979, scattering debris across the Indian Ocean and Western Australia.

Read more in the app

50 years ago, Skylab launched into orbit. See what it meant to an astronaut on a space station now.

Rockets Falling from Orbit: The Saturn V That Launched NASA’s Skylab

The Millennium Falcon had a control panel based on Skylab's Apollo Telescope Mount controls.

NASA's Skylab met its demise in Australia more than 40 years ago — but was it really an accident?

In the 60s "Astronaut happiness wasn’t a factor” says historian David Hitt. On Skylab 4, in 1973, the crew was overworked with packed schedules each day. They told NASA they couldn't keep up. This event is misreported as a "mutiny," but it had big effects. Astronauts now work 9-5, with weekends off.