Launch of Skylab 1 aboard a Saturn V booster
May 14, 1973
1:30 p.m. EDT
Launch Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
The unmanned Skylab station was launched into orbit by a Saturn V booster. Almost immediately, technical problems developed due to vibrations during liftoff. A critical meteoroid shield ripped off taking one of the craft's two solar panels with it, and a piece of the shield wrapped around the other panel keeping it from deploying.
Skylab was maneuvered so its Apollo Telescope Mount, or ATM, solar panels faced the sun to provide as much electricity as possible. Because of the loss of the meteoroid shield, however, this positioning caused workshop temperatures to rise to 52 degrees Celsius (126 degrees F). The launch of Skylab 2 was postponed while NASA engineers, in an intensive 10-day period, developed procedures and trained the crew to make the workshop habitable. At the same time, engineers "rolled" Skylab to lower the temperature of the workshop.