szczys writes: Skylab was close to becoming space junk. You may remember it crashing back to earth as space junk but that was after it was used for several research missions. What you probably don't know is that the original concept was to build it from a spent upper rocket stage that is normally just junked after launch. The module that was sent up in place of a 3rd rocket stage was damaged during launch, making it unusable until some very creative repairs paved the way for manned missions. The damage included problems with thermal shielding that turned it into an oven — nearly cooking all materials and supplies inside — and damage to solar panels which put a big hit on the station's power budget. Creative solutions and astronaut tenacity when docking and performing EVAs are all that saved Skylab from being scrapped without ever being used.
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