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News

Nal_onaAeronautfcsand SpaceAdministralion

Lyndo_ B.Johnson Space Center Houston,Texas77058

AC713 483-5111

Charles Redmond

For Release

RELEASE

NO:

78-50

October 31, 1978

ALSO RELEASED AT NASA HEADQUARTERS

SKYLAB ORBITAL ATTITUDE TO BE REVERSED

The Skylab space station will be rotated 180 degrees in its

orbit

on

Friday,

November

3.

The

vehicle

is

presently

flying

with

its docking-module forward, in the direction of flight, with the

vehicle's

long

axis

parallel

to

the

surface

of

the

Earth.

This

attitude -- called End-On Velocity Vector (EOVV) -- offers the least

drag in the extremely thin atmosphere at Skylab's orbital altitude

of 375 kilometers (234 statute miles).

The rotation, from what is called forward EOVV to backward

EOVV is necessitated by low temperature conditions on one of the

Control Moment Gyros (CMG), resulting from periodic long term

shading

from

the

Sun.

The

Sun

angle,

called

beta

angle,

is

a

function of the orbit inclination (in Skylab's case, 50 degrees

relative

to

the

equator),

the

position

of

the

Earth

around

the

Sun

and certain other seasonal factors.

  • -

    more -

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