"Earth’s distant orb appeared the smallest light that twinkles in the heaven; whilst round the chariot’s way innumerable systems rolled and countless spheres diffused an ever-varying glory. It was a sight of wonder: some were hornèd like the crescent moon; some shed a mild and silver beam like Hesperus o'er the western sea; some dashed athwart with trains of flame, like worlds to death and ruin driven; some shone like suns, and as the chariot passed, eclipsed all other light." From "Queen Mab" by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1813)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Skylab And Other Succulents

Another weekend another flea market, and inevitably, more artefacts acquired to fill the house with. Mrs Kitsch came back with a number of books, some jewellery and several more bags of buttons (you can’t have too many buttons apparently) while my hoard consisted of this lot.
I don’t normally read Star Trek novels but this was only 50p, so I felt compelled to get it. Despite the evidence to the contrary I'm not obsessed with Star Trek. Keen, maybe but not obsessed. I also got another Observers Book of Cacti, I'm trying to get as many of these as I can to go with my Cactus County art works; a lovely small hard back anthology of war poetry; and best of all four Skylab commemorative coins in a display box. Oh yes! You can imagine how excited I was about that one.
Skylab was part of the Apollo Applications Programme, NASA’s post moon landing manned space programme. The money wasn’t there to do everything they had originally planned for AAP and Skylab was a very much pared down version of what NASA hoped to have following the lunar landings.
Skylab was a 100-ton space station which orbited the earth between 1973 and 1979. It had been hoped that the then new Space Shuttle would dock with it and boost it to a higher orbit so it could be re-used but the shuttle wasn’t ready in time and with no other spacecraft available to NASA, Skylab’s orbit decayde till it eventually re-entered the atmosphere and broke up over Australia.
Only three crews, nine astronauts in all, visited for prolonged stays in 1973 and 1974. Two of these were moon walkers, Pete Conrad and Alan Bean.
Some good science was done aboard Skylab including studying the Sun and seeing how months spent in space affected the human body. Records for time in space were broken aboard Skylab.
It’s a great shame that it wasn’t put to better use but then as now money and a perceived lack of public enthusiasm put pay to that. The guy I bought this from asked if I'd ever been to Kennedy Space Centre as he went there in the 1980's, and presumably bought these coins there. Unfortunately, I haven't but one of these days I will go. I will make it so.
There are a couple of books relating to Skylab and the astronauts connected with it but I’ve recently seen there's a new one out called “Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story” by David Hitt, Owen K. Garriott and Joe Kerwin. I will definitely be getting this at some point (Father Christmas, are you taking note?) and you might want to check it out yourself if space is your thing.


  1. Thanks for the mention! Hope you enjoy the book! -- David

  2. I'M NOT WORTHY! I'M NOT WORTHY! Wow, thanks for leaving a comment. I can't wait to get the book now.

  3. Nice one! How brilliant is this ???

    Really pleased to belong to a blog that has such esteemed ( and courteous ) followers. :)

    (.....and I'm referring to David, incase there are any doubts.....!!! )