skylab

March 22, 1982 - OV-102 Columbia embarks on her 3rd flight, STS-3, also marking the third flight of the entirety of the Space Transportation System. STS-3 would continue checking out in-flight systems, ensuring the ship was performing as designed. 

Mission crew for this flight consisted of Jack Lousma as Commander, a Skylab 3 crew member, and Pilot Charles Gordon Fullerton on his first flight to space. 

STS-3 included tests of the Canadarm, as well as exposing parts of the top of the shuttle to the sun for thermal testing. It was discovered that thermal expansion slightly warped the payload bay doors, preventing them from closing. The fix was to roll the shuttle to prevent sunlight from being focused on any one area. A number of experiments were carried out with emphasis on the environment of LEO on a Spacelab pallet in the payload bay. 

Columbia landed at White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico 8 days later, after her primary landing site at Edwards Air Force Base was flooded. This would be the only time a shuttle would land at White Sands in it’s 30 year career. 

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Skylab 4 Launch by NASA on The Commons
A sunrise view at the KSC showing in the near distance the Skylab 4/Saturn 1B Space Vehicle on Pad “B”, Launch Complex (LC)-39, on the morning of the launch. The liftoff was at 9:01:23 a.m. Image #: S73-37929 Date: November 16, 1973