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Page 4

It remains in this positionwith its TACS inhibitedand engineers

are continuingtomonitor Skylab and to periodicallytransmitminor

correctionsto the onboard computerwhich is maintaining the position.

Skylab was launchedMay 15, 1973, and was manned during three

missions by three differentastronaut crews. The last crew departed

Skylab February8, 1974, at an altitudeof 445 km (276 statute miles).

Skylab presentlyis 389 km (242 statute miles) above Earth.

At the time the final crew departed,NASA estimated that the

orbitingorkshop wold remain in space until 1983 prmitting ample

opportunitiesto reach it on Space Shuttle missions. However,

since that time the orbit has decreasedat a higher-than-anticipated

rate. Contributingto the more rapid rate of descent is an increase

in atmosphericdrag caused by heavier sunspotactivity than had

originallybeen predicted.

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June 19, 1978

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