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Blue Dot: Remembering America's space station: Skylab @50 Pt. 1

Skylab after repairs done by Skylab 2 crew.
NASA
Skylab after repairs done by Skylab 2 crew.

Blue Dot host Dave Schlom is joined by space journalist Emily Carney and Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart in part one of our look back at the only all-American space station -- Skylab.

Launched in May 1973, the station was made from the third stage of the Saturn V moon rocket. Unfortunately, the station was damaged during launch leading to a dramatic repair mission -- the first of its kind which paved the way for the International Space Station and the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Carney explains why Skylab was such an important and fascinating program that deserves to be remembered 50 years later. 

Apollo 9 astronaut and Skylab backup crew member Schweickart tells Dave of the many hours he spent in the underwater tank at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, perfecting the procedures that would be carried out by astronauts Pete Conrad and Joe Kerwin to repair the ailing space station. It has all the drama of Apollo 13, and it's a story worth knowing!

 Left: Rusty Schweickart in the neutral buoyancy tank at MSFC and at right, astronauts Conrad and Kerwin 
working to free the jammed solar array.
NASA
Left: Rusty Schweickart in the neutral buoyancy tank at MSFC and at right, astronauts Conrad and Kerwin working to free the jammed solar array.

Dave Schlom is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.