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RELEASE NO: Page 2

78-13

attitudereference and control system in order to determine the space

station'sattitude and possiblymodifying it.

One of the possibilitiesis change the orientationof Skylab

in a manner which will reduce atmosphericdrag and possiblyadd some

months to its orbital lifetime.

Current NASA predictionsindicatethat the Skylab will enter the

atmospheresometimebetween early summer 1979 and the second quarter

of 1980. NASA is hopeful it will be able to rendezvouswith Skylab

on a Space Shuttle test flight in October 1979, to remotelymaneuver a

propulsionstage to dock with Skylab and use this stage to either propel

Skylab to a higher orbit for future use or to cause it to reenter the

atmospherein a controlledmanner to insure that debris would land in a remote area of an ocean.

The first attempt to communicatewith Skylab will be when it is

over Bermuda and in the sunlight.

Flight controllersplan to turn on the Skylab Airlock Module-Orbital

Workshop telemetrylink, evaluate it and turn it off on the first pass.

On a subsequentpass they will repeat the above procedureand also

turn on the Apollo Telescope Mount telemetrylink and evaluate it, then

turn it off.

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