It appeared that manned space flight was in its golden age during the Nixon presidency, as all but three manned space flights of the Apollo program were completed during President Nixon’s first term. Yet another NASA initiative was launched during RN’s second term: the Skylab program.
On this day in 1973, three astronauts Alan L. Bean, Jack R. Lousma, and Owen K. Garriot began a 59 day mission to perform scientific experiments in the areas of medical activities, solar observations, and Earth resources aboard the first American space station.
The mission logged a total of 1,804.7 astronaut-utilization hours–the longest journey beyond the atmosphere of Earth recorded at the time.
Following the splashdown of the Skylab 3 crew, President Nixon relayed a message to the astronauts:
‘By your scientific endeavor and your physical endurance, you have converted a space vehicle into a repository of more scientific knowledge than mankind can immediately consume. In doing so, you have provided the basis for a quantum jump in human knowledge.
CBS coverage of Skylab 3 launch.
NASA video of the second manned mission to Skylab, the first American space station, called “A Scientific Harvest.”
More Photos of the Skylab 3 Mission:
Nikolai Podgorny, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, offered his congratulations to President Nixon following another successful American Space excursion.