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As the United States and the Soviet Union went from exploring space to living in it, a space station was conceived as the logical successor to the Apollo moon program. But between conception and execution, there was the vastness of space itself, to say nothing of monumental technological challenges.
This book, by two of Skylab's own astronauts and a NASA journalist, tells the dramatic story of America's first space station from beginning to fiery end. It is much more than a story of technological and scientific success; it is also an absorbing, sometimes humorous, often inspiring account of the determined, hardworking individuals who shepherded the program through a near-disastrous launch, a heroic rescue and an exhausting study of Comet Kohoutek through to its ultimate descent into the Indian Ocean.
Featuring the unpublished in-flight diary of astronaut Alan Bean, this book is replete with the personal recollections and experiences of the Skylab crew and those who worked with them in training, during the mission, and in bringing them safely home.
Foreword by Homer Hickam; Preface; Acknowledgements; Acronyms1. Skylab: From the Ground Up; 2. The Homesteaders; 3. Getting Ready to Fly; 4. SMEAT: 56 Days in a Can; 5. A Tour of Skylab; 6. Saving Skylab: Ten Days in May; 7. Skylab I: "We Fix Anything"; 8. "Marooned"; 9. Skylab II: High Performance; 10. Skylab III: Sprinting a Marathon; 11. Science On Skylab; 12. What Goes Up...; 13. The Legacy of SkylabAppendix: Alan Bean's In-Flight Diary; Bibliography
The success of our nation's first space station did not come easily. The challenges were met with vision, courage, and competence. Those who personified these traits forcefully and honesty tell their stories here unfiltered by writers or press. The result is both historically significant and a great read. Ed Gibson, Skylab III science pilot and author "A launch accident nearly doomed Skylab, America's first space station, before its mission could begin. This first-hand story of how American ingenuity, innovation, and gutsy risk-taking turned tragedy to triumph and produced pioneering science in orbit is an inspiration. Homesteading Space captures the never-give-up spirit of our first attempts to explore space--and stay there." Tom Jones, veteran shuttle astronaut and author of Sky Walking: An Astronaut's Memoir "When people now spend half a year at a time aboard a continuously-occupied orbital outpost, it's hard to imagine when the first steps in that direction were being made. Homesteading Space provides a powerful and eye-popping narrative of what it took to begin that journey. This book tells its story with candor, context, and humor, and is a worthy addition to any space library--including, I hope soon, the one aboard today's International Space Station." Jim Oberg, NASA Mission Control veteran, NBC News space consultant