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Skylab was the United States' first space station, and the second space station visited by a human crew. It was also the only space station NASA launched alone. The 77-ton space station was in Earth's orbit from 1973 to 1979 and it was visited by crews three times between 1973 and 1974. It was launched by an unmanned modified Saturn V, but visited with the smaller manned Saturn IB with an Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM).



The exact origin of the project is difficult to pinpoint because a number of different but related proposals were floated by various NASA centers before Skylab itself was launched.

Early studies

A key event took place in 1959, when Wernher von Braun submitted his final Project Horizon plans to the U.S. Army. The overall goal of Horizon was to place a human on the Moon, a mission that would soon be taken over by the rapidly-forming NASA. Although concentrating on the Moon missions, von Braun also detailed an orbiting laboratory built out of a Horizon upper stage,[1]:23 an idea used for Skylab.[1]:9

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