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    Heavens, Skylab is celebrating its half-century! – Liberation




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    The first American orbital station celebrates its 50th anniversary. Portrait of a veteran of the space conquest born during the Cold War.

    What a long way to go in half a century… While the United States is preparing to build an international space station in orbit around the moon, we have just celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Skylab, the very first (and only) 100% American space station. The project was brief and strewn with pitfalls, but it made it possible to sketch a solid draft for humans to learn to live in space.

    Ripped solar panels

    At the start of the 1970s, NASA had both the pressure of the space race in a Cold War context, always trying to cross all the milestones of space exploration before the Soviets, and the relatively free field for shine since Moscow chained the failures. The very first space station in history, Salyut 1, was launched in April 1971 from Baikonur. It should have accommodated a first crew of three cosmonauts, who never managed to cross the doors of the station and had to return to Earth. Three other Soviet adventurers took over, settled into the module in Earth orbit… and died there, asphyxiated by accidental depressurization. The Soviets attempted to launch three more space stations between 1972 and 1973, but failed to reach a proper orbit.

    It was at this moment that the project for an American station came to fruition. On May 14, 1973, the very last Saturn V rocket was reserved for him – the very one that launched all the manned Apollo missions, from the


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