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commanded the space station to hold its position. This caused the

onboard computerto fire nitrogenthrusters,arrestingSkylab's

rotation. Although the attitudecontrol system hadn't been used in

over four years, the system performedperfectlyand within several

minutes the space station had settleddown and had gone into a

stable positionpointed within 20° of the Sun.

Flight controllersmanuallymaneuveredthe Skylab in roll

and pitch to center the vehicle on the Sun. The gravity gradien

forces then settled the Skylab into the orbital plane flying rear

end first and flight controllershad to yaw the vehicle 180° to

turn it around so it was flying in the proper direction.

Before the time Skylab was capturedout of its wobbling and

spinningpositionand stabilized,electricpower from the solar

panels was available only when illuminatedby the Sun. The ground

team had to get the space station into a positionwith the solar

panels exposed continuouslyto the Sun so Skylab'sbatteries could be

continuouslycharged and the rest of the planned activitiescould

be performedwith sufficientelectricalenergy. The vehicle solar

inertialposition is the best attitudefor this since the vehicle

tracks the Sun with the solar panels always into the Sun.

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