The first American space station, Skylab, is launched unmanned atop the last Saturn V rocket ever to be flown. Within minutes, however, it’s obvious that the space station – whose habitable space is actually the heavily modified third stage of the Saturn V – is already in serious trouble. Launch vibrations rip off one of the solar panels, and the other panel fails to automatically open. With less than two weeks before the first Skylab crew is due to lift off, the clock is ticking for mission planners to devise contingency and repair procedures.
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