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Attitudemanevers which began Friday, Jun 8, and ended on

Sunday, June 11, placed the space station in an attitudewhich reduces

the atmosphericdrag on the vehicle at its orbital altitudeof 242

statutemiles. This new attitude is expectedto extend by 6 to 12

months the orbital lifetimeof the Skylab.

The problem of keeping the space station in orbitwas not expected

and is due to snspot activity. Sunspot predictionscan be made but

are not sufficientlyrefinedat this time to accuratelypredict over

long periods. The science is expandingthe understandingsof sunspots

and other solar phenomenonare progressing,but in 1974 when the last

manned crew left Skylab, NASA's predictionsestimatedan orbital

life through 1982 -- plenty of time to use the space shuttle for any

Skylab operations.

[ate last year trackingof the vehicle by the North American

Air Defense Command (NORAD) indicatedthat Skylabs altitudewas

descendingat a rate much higher than predictions.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center,developersand project

managers for the Skylab mission, began working full time on the pro-

ble of sunspot activity and the Skylab'sorbit. A tam in Houston

began to design an operationscenter for the proposed Skylab reactiva-

tion. Various individualswho had worked closelywith the development

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