Science: Skylab Will Come Tumbling Down

The U.S. abandons efforts to salvage its space station

It was the pride of the U.S. space program, the largest and most sophisticated vehicle ever sent into orbit. Circling the earth every 90 minutes, the 85-ton Skylab had been a scientific workshop for three teams of astronauts for a total of 172 days. But lately it has been in trouble. Unoccupied since 1974, Skylab has been losing altitude much more rapidly than expected, a change threatening it with incineration in the earth's atmosphere.

To prevent that, NASA engineers had devised a daring rescue. The new...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!