This TRS spacecraft is illustrated being used to re-boost the Skylab space station to a higher orbit. An early Space Shuttle flight would have boosted Skylab to a higher orbit, adding five years of operational life. The TRS (which was on contract with Martin Marietta for $26 million) contained about three tons of propellant, remote-control capabilities with TV cameras and was designed for duties such as space construction and servicing and retrieving satellites the shuttle could not reach. After rescuing Skylab, the TRS would have remained in orbit for future use. Alternatively, it could have been used to de-orbit Skylab for a safe, controlled re-entry and destruction.
However, development of the Shuttle was delayed, and Skylab reentered Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated in 1979, with debris striking portions of Western Australia.
They’re out of the lab now, flying through the air, crawling in the grass, buzzing near you, swimming in the ocean. They’re robots. They’re among us. We don’t notice yet. But we will.
NASA will commemorate the 40th anniversary of America’s first space station Monday, May 13, with a televised roundtable discussion featuring Skylab astronauts, a current astronaut and agency managers planning future space missions.
The discussion, open to NASA employees and the public, will begin at 2:30 p.m. EDT in the James Webb Auditorium of NASA Headquarters at 300 E St. SW in Washington. The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
NASA launched Skylab on May 14, 1973. It was the nation’s first foray into significant scientific research in microgravity. The three Skylab crews proved humans could live and work effectively for long durations in space. The knowledge gathered during Skylab helped inform development and construction of the International Space Station, just as the research and technology demonstrations being conducted aboard the ISS will help shape a new set of missions that will take Americans farther into the solar system.
The bottom image is the original Skylab concept
This sketch of Skylab was drawn by George E. Mueller, NASA associate administrator for Manned Space Flight. This concept drawing was created at a meeting at the Marshall Space Flight Center on Aug. 19, 1966. The image details the station’s major elements. In 1970, the station became known as Skylab. Three crewed Skylab missions (Skylab 2 in May 1973; Skylab 3 in July 1973; and Skylab 4 in November 1973) were flown, on which experiments were conducted in space science, Earth resources, life sciences, space technology and student projects.
DIY.org is a site and app that encourages kids to make things. It also lets them share their projects and earn achievement badges. They’ve just released a few new videos that show some of the kids who are on the site.
Researchers build miniature flying robots, modeled on Drosophila
“We may not be at fruit fly level yet, but researchers are giving the insects some competition. In today’s issue of Science, they report on miniature flying robots that aren’t much bigger than a coin. The power and control are handled externally, but the tiny robots can still perform basic maneuvers, and have enough lift to spare that they could fly under their own power for a few minutes, if the right power storage were developed.”