The launch date for the second Skylab crew had been advanced from 8 August to 27 July.
The launch date for the second Skylab crew had been advanced from 8 August to 27 July. Skylab programme director William Schneider, announcing the move on Friday (1 JUNE), said he considered it prudent because the space station had been "exposed to unexpected usage".
Skylab's extensive research programme, already curtailed by a shortage of electrical power following an accident at launch on 14 May, is being threatened further by new, unexplained electrical faults.
On Thursday (31 May), four of Skylab's main batteries "tripped out" through excessive use during a session of earth resources photography. The space station's solar panels could not be used to power the cameras, as they were in shadow during the experiment.
Some of Skylab's solar panels were prevented form functioning by the launch accident, in which the space station's heat shield tore off and wrapped itself around the hull.
Skylab commander Charles "Pete" Conrad on Tuesday (29 May) used a sophisticated solar telescope to take pictures of the sun's atmosphere -- the corona -- considered vital for scientists to study solar activity. The corona is only visible on earth when there is a solar eclipse.