The Saturn 18 rocket that will carry three United States astronauts to the largest manned satellite to be put into earth orbit, was rolled out to the launching pad at Cape Kannedy, Florida, on Monday (26 February).
GV & SV Skylab rocket outside assembly shed (2 shots)
SV & CU Cater-pillar tracks moving (3 shots)
SV, TV Top of rocket
GV, SV Skylab moving away from assembly shed (3 shots)
TV Shadow of rocket
GV, SV Skylab towards launching pad
Initials SGM/1205 SGM/1215
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Saturn 18 rocket that will carry three United States astronauts to the largest manned satellite to be put into earth orbit, was rolled out to the launching pad at Cape Kannedy, Florida, on Monday (26 February).
Astronauts are scheduled to spend 28 days aboard skylab, carrying out a variety of experiments. Preparation of the space station which will be launched separately, is two weeks behind schedule, and this many mean that the astronauts will not blast off until late May or early June.
About 90 days after the mission, another three-man crow will go up to Skylab for a similar stay. A third crew will take their turn after a similar interval.
The Saturn 18 will carry the first crew is 127 (39 metres) shorter than the Saturn rockets which carried the Apollo astronauts to the moon. It was necessary to mount the rocket on a special pedestal for it to fit the Saturn launching gantry at Cape Kennedy.
The Skylab programme will be the last to use giant expendable booster rockets. Future missions are being planned with a re-usable space shuttle vehicle.
Skylab's main workshop is the third stage of a Saturn V rocket, the forward and converted into a laboratory and the after end into living quarters, including a bedroom, bathroom and wardroom.