Skylab 1 and Skylab 2 at Launch Pad 39A and Launch Pad 39B

Dublin Core


Skylab 1 and Skylab 2 at Launch Pad 39A and Launch Pad 39B

Alternative Title

Skylab 1 and 2 at Launch Pad 39A and 39B


John F. Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
Merritt Island (Fla.)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (U.S.)
Skylab Program


Skylab 1 and Skylab 2 before launch on Launch Pad 39A and Launch Pad 39B, contrasting the much larger Saturn V used for Skylab 1 (foreground) and smaller Saturn IB (background) at John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Merritt Island, Florida. Skylab 2 was supposed to fly 24 hours later than Skylab 1, but was delayed by damage the space station sustained on launch. This photograph was taken with a very small aperture to enhance depth of field so that both rockets appear in focus. As Project Apollo was winding down and the final three missions (Apollo 18, Apollo 19, and Apollo 20) were canceled, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) looked for ways to repurpose launch vehicles and other equipment. Out of this, Skylab and three space science missions were born. Skylab was conceived by famed rocket designer, Wernher von Braun (1912-1977), to use an unused upper-stage fuel tank and convert it to an orbital laboratory. This was necessitated by NASA's budget being slashed. With the tank becoming the basis of the space station, NASA added solar arrays, a docking adapter, and a space observatory. The Skylab missions were constituted of one mission to put the station in space (Skylab 1), using a modified and last Saturn V to launch, and three crewed missions (Skylab 2, Skylab 3, and Skylab 4) to occupy the lab and perform science, using the smaller Saturn IB booster to launch the three astronaut crews. When launched on May 14, 1973, the station encountered problems immediately. A micrometeoroid shield prematurely deployed and tore off one of the two main solar arrays. NASA engineers went to work and were able to save Skylab and the three crewed missions. Each of the subsequent missions set what were then endurance records for living in space and conducted substantial space science experiments. NASA tried to keep Skylab in orbit after Skylab 4 (SL-4) and until the Space Shuttle could boast its orbit, but with a decaying orbit, it crashed on July 11, 1979.


Original color photographic print: Larry Summers Collection.

Date Created

ca. 1973-05


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original color photographic print.

Is Part Of

Florida Space Coast History Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




101 KB


1 black and white photographic print


Still Image


Launch Pad 39B, John F. Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by Larry Summers and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.


Michlowitz, Robert
Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

External Reference

"Skylab, Birth of the Modern Space Station: Part I - The History of Sky | NASA." National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Accessed August 12.
"Skylab, Our First Space Station - ch2." 2015. SP-400 NASA - Skylab, Our First Space Station. Accessed September 25.
Howell, Elizabeth. 2013. "Skylab: First U.S. Space Station." February 1.

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1 black and white photographic print




“Skylab 1 and Skylab 2 at Launch Pad 39A and Launch Pad 39B .” RICHES of Central Florida accessed August 14, 2022,



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  1. FSCH00244.jpg