Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
40 Years Later, Skylab Crews Reminisce Together
Skylab and SMEAT Crewmembers Talk Adventures Onboard
The Skylab program saw its 40th anniversary this year. Skylab, the United States’ first space station, launched atop a modified Saturn V rocket on May 14, 1973. Three crews of three astronauts each spent increasingly longer periods of time in space, consecutively breaking new time records that were held until the Mir program. All together, Skylab 2 astronauts Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz, and Joe Kerwin; Skylab 3 astronauts Alan Bean, Jack Lousma, and Owen Garriott; and Skylab 4 astronauts Jerry Carr, Bill Pogue, and Ed Gibson spent a total of 171 days living and working on board the space station.
ASF honored these astronauts and their contributions to science and the space program at the Skylab 40th Anniversary Celebration, held July 27, 2013 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Apollo/Saturn V Center. Skylab astronauts Alan Bean, Jerry Carr, Ed Gibson, Jack Lousma, Bill Pogue, and Paul Weitz were in attendance, as well as Skylab Medical Experiment Altitude Test (SMEAT) crew members Karol “Bo” Bobko, Robert Crippen, and William Thornton; Vance Brand, backup commander for Skylab 3 and 4; Nancy Conrad, widow of the late Pete Conrad; and fellow astronauts Robert Cabana, Fred Gregory, and Gen. Thomas Stafford.
During the opening reception, guests were invited to recreate an official NASA portrait with the Skylab group before settling down to enjoy a meal prepared by Delaware North Company’s chefs. After dinner, Space Shuttle astronaut and SMEAT crew member Crippen moderated a lively panel consisting of the Skylab astronauts and SMEAT crew members present that night. The engaging and educational discussion found the astronauts sharing personal stories from their time spent in the program. Dessert and a live auction followed the panel.
As the night came to a close, the benefit had raised more than $33,000 for the Foundation. Thank you to sponsors James Long, Lockheed Martin, Radisson Resort at the Port, Ken and Theresa Havekotte, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and First Photo Studio.