Skylab Program 1 Lapel Pin
Skylab America's First Space Station
The launch of Skylab, America's first space station, on board a modified Saturn V rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Fla. on May 14, 1973, marked a new phase for American's human space flight program. Once again Americans stood poised to leave behind their terrestrial abode, but this time with a much different goal: staying in space for longer periods and conducting complex scientific experiments in the unique space environment. Skylab was the culmination of much difficult work and detailed preparation that began as early as the late 1960s at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The space program was operating in a time when U.S. budgets were fiscally constrained, so NASA's leaders searched for an affordable way to build a space station. They came up with the idea of turning part of a Saturn V rocket into a space station, and the Skylab concept was born.