Orbital Workshop

As a part of the Apollo Applications Program, the Orbital Workshop that was introduced and discussed in the films in this exhibit was to be an orbiting space station used for a wide variety of space-based scientific research. Originally, the Orbital Workshop was to be made from a third-stage section of a Saturn V launch vehicle after the rocket had been used to attain orbit. The idea was that after reaching orbit, the inside of the third stage would be converted into living and research space by astronauts aboard the spacecraft. This was called a “wet” workshop. After the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969, however, the “wet” workshop was discarded in favor of a “dry” workshop, which meant that the workshop would be constructed while on the ground before launch. Eventually, the Orbital Workshop became a part of the Skylab space station, consisting of the workshop, a telescope mount, and multiple docking adapters. The progress of all of these components, including the Apollo Applications Program as a whole, was tracked in the reports included in this exhibit. There were three manned Skylab missions between 1973 and 1974, and astronauts spent a combined 171 days aboard the space station. The last manned mission departed Skylab in February 1974, with the space station reentering the Earth’s atmosphere in July 1979.

Lunar Landing Training Vehicle
Saturn V