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Maneuvers which began Friday, June 8, and ended Sunday, June II,

placed the space station in an attitude which reduces the atmospheric

drag on the vehicle at its orbital height of 389 kilometers (242

statute miles).

Assuming continued functioning of the gyros, this new attitude

is hoped to extend by six to 12 months the orbital lifetime of

Skylab

  • --

    to

late

1979

or

early

1980.

This

should

give

NASA

additional

time to possibly implement a plan it is considering with an early

Space

Shttle

test

flight

to

carry

ot

a

Skylab

reboost

into

higher

orbit or controlled deorbit for maximum safety into a remote ocean

area.

The weekend maneuvers climaxed activities that began last March

when engineers and flight controllers at the Bermuda tracking station

began checking out various Skylab systems which would be used and

bringing Skylab's batteries to a fully-charged state.

On Thursday, June 8, flight controllers turned on the dormant

control moment gyros (CMG's) which make up a portion of the Skylab

attitude control system

used to maneuver the space station into

a position and hold it.

The other part of the system is the thruster

attitude control system

(TACS) which expels nitrogen gas through

nozzles to move Skylab into various attitudes as it orbits Earth.

  • -

    more -

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