On this day in 1979, after breaking up in the atmosphere, the American space station Skylab comes crashing down in Australia and into the Indian Ocean five years after its last manned mission ended. Fortunately, no one is injured. Launched in 1973, Skylab was the world’s first successful space station, safely able to house three separate three-man crews for extended periods of time.
Originally the spent third stage of a Saturn 5 moon rocket, the cylinder-shaped station was 118-feet tall, weighed 77 tons and carried an assortment of scientific equipment. The crews of Skylab spent more than 700 hours observing the sun and also provided important information about the biological effects of living in space for prolonged periods of time.