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|December 22, 2006
I was walking down the hall from my office at NASA MSFC when I saw sections of Skylab decking and equipment lying about. Turns
out NASA is going to use the Skylab 1-G trainer as a model for developing methods for applying TPS to the Ares 1 Instrument Unit
(IU) while still integrating avionics on a support ring for later attachment to the IU. NASA is interested in the grid decking as a
method for holding workers in place while they install TPS and for mounting Avionics to cold plates. Skylab’s portable/removable
attachment system (tether rings, IVA handles) are also of significant interest. So let’s hear it for Skylab, 32 years after retirement it
still serves the nations space program!
|December 2, 2006
The US Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) made a surprise announcement today. As of December 1, 2006
they started a Skylab preservation effort of there own. Ours is concluded as of today. This announcement
was the reason for the surprise request Thursday by the USSRC to bring back Skylab structures and
systems volunteers have been refurbishing, cleaning and rebuilding. Once the USSRC formally establishes
plans, process, procedures and methods we will be welcome to take part again (as members of the USSRC
team). As of today no further work will take place on Skylab until the spring of 2007.
This will prevent completion of our planned restoration of Skylab by June of 2007. A new estimated date for
completion of the restoration of Skylab by the USSRC is not yet determined.
This effort was a lot of fun. People learned how crewed spacecraft where built a generation ago, held
history in there hands, made an impact and save US and Alabama space history for the future.
I know our efforts are appreciated. If not for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA),
United Space Alliance (USA), the people who have volunteered time every Saturday for the last 6 months
and donated money/supplies the Skylab 1-g trainer would be a lost cause.
In the past 4 months we have:
Cleaned and restored 85% of the 1st deck, compartments and lockers
Cleaned, repaired and restored 80% of the structure and assemblies in the 1st deck
Replaced/repaired wooden structures for the 1st deck
Cleaned and repaired beta cloth
Cleaned the crew shower
Cleaned the lower-body negative pressure experiment
Cleaned crew intercoms
Found and installed a replacement crew freezer for the wardroom (the original was destroyed by water
Cleaned the crew sleep area equipment
Hand scrubbed the sub flooring thru the deck grating (this involved using a small brush, water,
cleaner and a shop vacuum. Going from grid to grid it took over 2 hours to clean 3 sq. ft.)
Restored many, many small systems and structures
We fixed the MDA airlock hatches, closed the airlock EVA hatch and started to clean and remove debris
form the MDA structure.
We discovered unique historic items. As an example we found the 6-pack rate gyros a Skylab crew test
fitted in the MDA prior to replacing them on orbit in Skylab.
Our volunteers consisted of collage students, recent graduates, engineers, scientist, technicians,
managers and trades people. In short, the good people of Alabama. I hope everyone will take part again
next year when the USSRC is ready. REMEMBER, you made a difference, you saved history. GOD bless you
all and have a great Christmas!
|For the people who volunteer, we will meet again on
Saturday December 2, 2006 at 8:30AM
It will be bloody cold Saturday so please keep that in mind.
We are going to leave the signing area open for 7 more days. So please come by and sign your name in the 1st deck.
It’s the wall in the waste management compartment. Skylab Astronaut Owen Garrett signed his name. Our efforts are
now concentrating on the MDA. We need to go to the USSRC warehouse again and collect grid structure material for
the ATM panel. We have suspended work on the 1st deck until painting is complete.
We have 9 tasks this week.
1. Vacuum the floor in the MDA
2 Remove lose paint from MDA structures
3. Remove lockers from the deck
4. Secure the Airlock hatches (when finished for the day)
5. Spray mildew remover on all MDA surfaces just before we leave
6. Clean the lockers and panels removed from the MDA
7. Find mounting points for grid structure at the ATM panel
8. Remove the MDA Fans and the MPR2 assembly
9. Wash the MDA hatches
Please be careful when working in the MDA. It was never designed to be used in a 1-g environment.
Remember to clock in and out of the Space and Rocket Center. They give awards to voluntaries for the hours worked.
We have received an inquiry from NASA MSFC about possibly housing Skylab at MSFC while we finish our work.
Before this happens a formal offer would need to come from MSFC and agreement reached with USSRC (the USSRC
owns Skylab). We received commitment for an individual to provide $3000.00 over the next year to help pay the
$20,000 dollar price for a new building at the USSRC to house Skylab. We are very thankful. As you read this consider
following his example.
We are giving a lecture on December 7th about saving Skylab. It will be in Huntsville Alabama at the main Huntsville
Public Library. Hosted by the National Space Society. Free to everyone. We will bring some artifacts from Skylab for
people to examine. Please, we need your help and your money. Please click on the link and donate via paypal.
|November 22, 2006
We held a signing ceremony a few weeks ago. People who are taking part in the restoration of Skylab signed the
hull. This is a tradition started by the National Air and Space Museum. When a spacecraft or aircraft is nearing
completion the team responsible signs an area hidden from view. Sign your name. Join us! We need help.
|November 19, 2006
We received news Friday that Skylab will not go indoors for the next 2 years. This leaves use out in the cold (literally).
We are still on schedule to be completed with our restoration efforts by June 2007. In work now are efforts to
understand how we can preserve Skylab while in remains outside for the additional year, We need to develop
methods to keep the humidity down, water out, mold under control and the animals away. We have also been asked
by the Space and Rocket Center to raise $20,000 to buy them a building to hold Skylab. This is beyond our plan and
well beyond what money we have raised to save the Skylab space station 1-G trainer. If you would like to donate
$20,000 they will put your name, the name of your company, etc on the side of it forever. If you are interested please
send me an email. On the restoration front we successful closed the MDA to Airlock pressure hatch (the seals and
latches still worked!) We removed several lockers and storage boxes from the MDA and scraped away a considerable
amount of lose and pealing paint away. We found about 6 inches of rain on the roof of the 1st deck that we removed
(we had a few good storms this past week). If not for our efforts to restore and protect the 1st deck and install a
covering on it that 6 inches of rain would be sitting in the bottom Skylab, in lockers, systems and on structures. Just as
it did for over 7 years. Painting is behind schedule. We hope the painters will show up this week. This 1-g trainer is
important, one of two left in the world. By June next year it will be the best.
|November 12, 2006
We installed the hatch in the No.1 docking port of the MDA. After 35 years it still makes a good seal. Worked like a charm. In 1-g it's a two
man lift. Interesting is the MDA tool kit box on the hatch. We removed the hatch today for cleaning and painting.
Our efforts are shifting to the MDA while the painters are working in the 1st deck. We also sprayed a great
deal of mold remover. A good deal more is still needed. Disassembly and cleaning of the MDA continues.
|November 7, 2006
We may have to disassemble the No.1 docking port hatch and reset the hatch latches in the Airlock to Workshop hatch. We
have to get a new cover for the 1st deck. A custom made cover design is being put out for bid.
|November 5, 2006
We washed the rest of the walls in the crew quarters and reinstalled the draws in the wardroom. We moved more items to the
painting area. We pulled lose equipment and structures from the MDA. We also got the Gemini EVA hatch to close. That took effort.
Special thank to Kayla who got the bolt out! 1st time the EVA hatch has been closed in 30+ years. The hatch seal was acceptable.
We closed the airlock to workshop hatch to keep the raccoons out. With painting underway on the 1st deck most of our efforts are
temporally shifting to the MDA. Below are pictures from the MDA. Including the EVA hatch closed and the 6-pack Gyros, replaced
during Skylab 2. Interesting story the original gyros suffered failures, during the Skylab 2 mission and replacements flew on Skylab
3. But before they flew NASA wanted to make sure the replacement gyros would fit in the location selected (after the locker originally
in that location was moved). They did fit and the gyros are still in place. Just as the Astronauts left them in the MDA back in 1973.
|November 2, 2006
The walls are coming down! Sleep quarters walls have been removed for painting and lockers stacked for temporary storage. The
radiant heaters, wardroom table and experiment lockers are also in the paint shop. Wood elements from the waste management
compartment are being refurbished. Lockers from the MDA are getting cleaned and painted. We have a new water leak to fix
Saturday. Next week we will be offering small samples of beta cloth for a $50.00 donation.
|October 14, 2006
We retrieved and placed the freezer in the wardroom today. We also moved several systems and cleaned two large experiment
support cabinets. The Wardroom curtain is back in place. Painting should start within a week. The galley table and curtains for the
sleep quarters will be reinstalled next Saturday. We will start removing structures from the MDA for cleaning next week.
Engineering panels will get changed out next week.
|October 3, 2006
The freezer and rotten mounting wood was removed. The sub flooring continues to be scrubbed.
The electrical panels are getting cleaned and will be swapped out this Saturday. The new crew
freezer will be installed Saturday and we are removing panels for painting. Major wood structures
are getting refinished this week. And will be reinstalled by October 21, 2006. New wood structures
will be fabricated for the bathroom (waste management compartment). Curtains for the sleep
compartment are getting washed this week and will be reinstalled Saturday. We will start reinstalling
intercoms and task light Saturday. The Wardroom table needs to be washed and repaired before
we can reinstall it in two week. The Wardroom table foot restraints need cleaning and painting. The
Low Body pressure experiment is being cleaned and ready for reinstallation in a few weeks. I
applied power to the old caution and warning lights. They still work after 36 years. We found an
intact perfectly preserved Earth Resources Experiment in the MDA. We are now past the 50%
completion point for the 1st element. We should start work on the upper deck or the MDA (2nd of 5
elements) by the end on November 2006
|September 25, 2006
The crew shower is clean and ready to be reinstalled. This involved fully expanding the shower, climbing in and removing 5 years of
dirt, mold and Raccoon Residue (FYI Raccoon residue, when dehydrated is “uniquely fragrant”). The wooden penlight mockups are
painted and ready to be inserted in the beta cloth bag.
The floor is 80% clean, several of the instrument panels are clean and we should be painting the Galley lockers and walls in the next
two weeks (I talked to the painter today). The freezer locker doors come out this week and will be replaced by identical lockers in
storage. We pulled several engineering and control panels composed of Apollo spacecraft elements. The Metabolic Analyzer box is
being cleaned. Replacing Wood structures in the bathroom will start next week. We should be done with the primary deck by the end of
|September 18, 2006
Only one item of Beta Cloth remains to be restored. The deck is 70% clean. The freezer doors will be removed this coming week.
General cleaning will continue in the wardroom. The crew sleep quarters are next on our list of areas to wash down. The metabolic
support hardware will be dissembled Tuesday, cleaned and painted over the next 10 days. Restoration of the Crew Shower starts
Friday. We did a bit of exploring and found two old trailers used about 20 years ago by Space Campers. Each was filled with back-up
Skylab flight hardware. We pulled two intercoms from the trailers this weekend. We will remove the panels and equipment from the
trailers this coming weekend. We found two complete sets of electrical subsystems panels, all EVA and Airlock related instrument
panels and one Apollo Telescope Mount control panel (minus a few instruments). We also found what maybe the last USAF Gemini B
spacecraft adapter. The adapter was used to link the Gemini B to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL). MOL would have
been the 1st US Space Station and launch in 1970 (about 3 tears before Skylab). The Spacecraft Adapter is nearly complete. It has
the 6 solid retrorocket motors (the NASA Gemini had 4), miscellaneous hardware and the transfer tunnel for moving crew through the
heat shield) to the MOL crew space.
|August 21, 2006 Status|
On Saturday August 19th we continued to clean lockers in the wardroom and remove the wood
structures in the Waste Management Compartment. We cleaned several additional structures,