Research Subheader

Skylab Program

Skylab was America's first experimental space station placed into orbit on May14, 1973. Designed for long-duration missions, the Skylab program objectives were twofold: to prove that humans could live and work in space for extended periods and to expand our knowledge of solar astronomy well beyond Earth-based observations. Successful in all respects despite early mechanical difficulties, three 3-man crews occupied the Skylab workshop for a total of 171 days, 13 hours.

Skylab was the first American effort to make fundamental research in biology and medicine an integral part of manned space-flight operations. The biomedical program encompassed six areas of study: general clinical evaluations, neurophysiology, musculoskeletal functions, body fluid biochemistry and hematology, cardiovascular function, and nutrition and metabolic function.

The Skylab program's biomedical objective was to evaluate human's capability for enduring flights up to 84 days in length, to understand some of the mechanisms underlying physiological adaptation to weightlessness, and to identify countermeasures that permit human to perform effectively in flights of longer duration. To accomplish this, Skylab became one of the most fully outfitted labs ever flown in space. The Skylab workshop was equipped with biomedical hardware that allowed in-depth study of the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, hematologic, vestibular, metabolic and endocrine systems of the body. The Lower Body Negative Pressure (LBNP) Device and Bicycle Ergometer were used by Skylab astronauts as cardiovascular stressors to better understand cardiovascular adaptation to space flight. The Rotating Litter Chair imposed a rotational-acceleration stimulus on the vestibular system to test the astronauts' susceptibility to space motion sickness. The Inflight Blood Collection System (IBCS) allowed the regular collection and measurement of blood samples in the microgravity environment. The Waste Management System (WMS) provided on-board facilities to collect and store fecal and urine samples for postflight analysis. Electronic biomonitoring equipment was used to measure heart rate, blood pressure, and leg volume changes. Data collected electronically during flight were telemetered from Skylab to mission control on Earth. The modern age of space life sciences research had begun.

+ Read More About Skylab
+ View the Book "Biomedical Results from Skylab"

Photo Gallery

Related Experiments
  + Skylab Crew Health (skych)
  + Determination of Cardiac Size From Chest Roentgenograms Following Skylab Missions (SKYRAY)
  + The Response of Single Human Cells to Zero Gravity (S015)
  + Chronobiology of Pocket Mice (S071)
  + Circadian Rhythm in Vinegar Gnats (S072)
  + Analysis of the Skylab Flight Crew Health Stabilization Program (SkyHSP)
  + Toxicological Aspects of the Skylab Program (SKYTOX)
  + Skylab Environmental and Crew Microbiology Studies (SKYMIC)
  + Habitability and Crew Quarters (M487)
  + Crew Activities / Maintenance Study (M516)
  + Muscular Deconditioning and its Prevention in Space Flight (SkyMusc)
  + Skylab Oral Health Studies (SkyOral)
  + Pulmonary Function and Evaluation During and Following Skylab Space Flights (SKYPUL)
  + Biostereometric Analysis of Body Form (SKYFORM)
  + Skylab Ultrasound (SKYSOUND)
  + Crew Efficiency on First Exposure to Zero-Gravity (SKYCREW)
  + The Effects of Prolonged Exposure to Weightlessness on Postural Equilibrium (SKYPOS)
  + Bacteria and Spores (ED31)
  + In-vitro Immunology (ED32)
  + Motor Sensory Performance (ED41)
  + Web Formation (ED52)
  + Plant Growth/Plant Phototropism (ED61_62)
  + Cytoplasmic Streaming (ED63)
  + Mineral Balance Study (M071)
  + Bio-Assay of Body Fluids (M073)
  + Bone Mineral Measurement (M078)
  + Vectorcardiographic Results From Skylab Medical Experiment M092: Lower Body Negative Pressure (M092)
  + Visual Light Flash Phenomena (M106)
  + Cytogenetic Studies of Blood (M111)
  + Man's Immunity In-vitro Aspects (M112)
  + Red Cell Metabolism (M114)
  + Special Hematological Effects; Dynamic Changes in Red Cell Shape in Response to the Space-Flight Environment (M115)
  + Sleep Monitoring (M133)
  + Time and Motion Study (M151)
  + Physiological Mass Measurements in Skylab (M172)
  + Metabolic Cost of Extravehicular Activities (SKYMET)
  + Radiological Protection and Medical Dosimetry for the Skylab Crew (SKYRAD)
  + Vectorcardiographic Changes During Extended Space Flight. (M093)
  + Blood Volume Changes and Red Blood Cell Life Span (M113)
  + Human Vestibular Function (M131)
  + Metabolic Activity (M171)