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NASA Ships and Space Stations

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Project Skylab


In 1973, the United States' first Earth-orbiting space station was launched into space. Skylab was designed to prove humans could work and live in space for prolonged periods of time without suffering ill effects. The distance between Earth and the 77-ton space station was about 300 miles. Unexpectedly high sunspot activity hurt Skylab's ability to maintain orbit, resulting in its descent into the atmosphere in 1978, when most of the space station burned up.

Photo source: NASA

Next: Space Shuttles

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