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No Shortage of Dreams | A KSP Skylab Alternative History


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Posted (edited)




No Shortage of Dreams


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Intro: 
For around 3 months I have spent a lot of time researching the Skylab program and procrastinating about what an alternative history of Skylab would've looked like if it went right. This will be my own take based on what I love and dozens of studies, PDFs, concepts, etc from the various space agencies/companies pitched for Skylab, mainly the Reuse Study by McDonnel Douglas and the Power Tower studies by Lockheed. It will focus mainly on Skylab being a S&D station and extended by the Space Shuttle. The thread will contain 1 mission per post containing KSP Screenshots and diagrams.




Thanks:
@Talverd
 For his help with certain ideas, pure support, and the main inspiration for all of this and please check out his fantastic "Chasing Dreams" alternative history.
@Kuiper_Belt With their Incredible Shuttle Adventures 




The Beginning.

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Skylab 1 and Skylab 2 (SLM-1) wait on their respected pads. May 14th 1973.


Mission List

Skylab 1 - Finished
Skylab 2 / SLM-1 Finished
Skylab 3 / SLM-2 - Finished
Skylab 4 / SLM-3Finished

Skylab 5 / SLM-4 / TRS-1 - Finished
Skylab 6 / SLM-5 / STS-2 - Finished 
Skylab 7 / SLM-6 / STS-5 - Finished
Skylab 8 / SLM-7 / STS-6 - Finished 
Skylab 9 / SLM-8 / STS-7 - In Progress
Skylab 10 / SLM-9 / STS-12 - Planned

Edited by TruthfulGnome
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Posted (edited)

Skylab 1 - May 14 1973
Part 1

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After hard work since 1968 Skylab which was originally was named Orbital Workshop (OWS) is finally ready to soar the skies, it is a historical day for NASA and the United States as it marks the last launch of the Saturn V, the first launch of an American space station, and the largest spacecraft ever built. Mans dreams long stays in space are about to become true.

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Skylab 1 waits on LC-39A with Skylab 2 on LC-39B

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Skylab 1 prepares for launch.



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Swing Arm 3 retract.

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Mark! T-1 Minute and continuing to count.

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T-24 Seconds, Swing Arm 1 retract!

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T-16 Swing Arm 2 retract!

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12.. 11.. 10.. 9.. 8.. We have ignition sequence.. 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1..

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We have a liftoff! The Skylab lifting off the pad now!

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Skylab has cleared the tower!

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Mark T+18 seconds, pitch and roll program started, Saturn V currently now on flight path 

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T+ Minute, Display data shows stable thrust on all five engines

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Roll program complete. Anomaly

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S-II performing on the spot

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Skylab Sep. Anomaly

Part 2 Coming soon!
 

Edited by TruthfulGnome
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Skylab 1 - Part 2
"Crippled Station"


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Skylab flips to 90° for direct alignment with the Sun.

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ATM deployment

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ATM deploys her wings

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Skylab flips to a 45° angle instead of 90° for better thermal controls.

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Goodnight Skylab.

After multiple anomalies and issues with the launch of Skylab NASA has delayed Skylab 2 until a solution for saving the crippled station with its solar panel deployment and thermal issues can be resolved, until then Skylab will remain in orbit with a 45° angle for better thermals instead of the originally desired 90° angle for solar generation.

Sorry folks for taking so long, it has been a super busy week I will try to get Skylab 2 done for next week

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Posted (edited)

Skylab 2 / SLM-1 - May 25 1973.
Part 1

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We Fix Anything.
After the launch of Skylab NASA began noticing a lot of system issues mainly thermal heating that caused toxic materials in the station and solar loss however after days of hard work it was determined that during Max Q air got inside of the micrometeoroid shield completely shredding it while damaging Solar Wing 1 and jamming Solar Wing 2, Solar Wing 1 was torn off after the ullage motors on the S-II fired and Solar Wing 1 was deployed at only 10°. This left many hopeless with the Skylab space station as it was an extremely costly station but in the light of things Jack Kinzler (Named Mr. Fix It by NASA) created the genius Parasol that would be deployed through the Scientific Airlock and would drop Skylab's temperatures to a sustainable amount.

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Skylab 2 awaits for it's historical servicing mission.

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T-3.1 Seconds engine startup sequence.

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We have launch commit and liftoff!

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Skylab 2 has cleared the tower! 

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Pete Conrad: Houston - Skylab 2! We fix anything! we got a pitch and roll program. Boy is that a smooth ride!

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Mark 45 seconds cabin pressure adjusting from sea level to space environment.

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CAPCOM: Hello Houston you are feet wet! roger feet wet!

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You are go for staging! Center engine shutdown!

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Staging! We got an S-IVB light!

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Tower jettison.

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Correction burn.

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We got her in daylight.

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Okay Houston, the meteoroid shield area is solid gold!.

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Pete Conrad: A brief description is it's suspected Solar Wing- two right? two is gone, completely off the bird. Solar wing one is in fact partially deployed and the reason you've got different readings that symmetric between three solar panels and there's a bulge of meteorite shield underneath it in the middle and it looks to be holding it down.

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Pete Conrad: Now I get that our easiest thing to do is to just go to the end and try to deploy it.

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Soft docking for small rest and eating.

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Undock to position the CSM next to the solar wing.

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Weitz performing an EVA to attempt to free the jammed solar wing.

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Skylab 2 docks back to Skylab after an unsuccessful attempt.

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After multiple failed hard dock attempts they finally succeeded in a hard dock attempt and entered the station

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After entering, the crew deployed the Parasol through the Scientific Airlock 

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Skylab with its new shield deployed

That is all for Part 1, I didn't realize how long these missions would be ;) 

Edited by TruthfulGnome
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9 hours ago, Adam-Kerman said:

So i spot the missing solar panel has the attachment on it, so guess custom modification or ?

If you deploy the wing during flight it breaks and looks like that 

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Posted (edited)

Skylab 2 / SLM-1 - Part 2
We still got work to do


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Skylab remains with a crippled solar panel

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Conrad and Weitz go EVA to fix the jammed solar wing

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Joseph Kerwin: Houston do you see the gold? 

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Conrad and Weitz argue for 17 minutes causing the media stations to mute the broadcast

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The Solar Wing is now free

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After being flung back the crew makes their way back into the workshop after fixing her wing

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The crew opens the ATMs cameras.

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EVA for retrieval of camera film 

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Departure after a historical servicing nd repair mission.

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Deorbit burn

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SM sep

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Drogue Chutes have been deployed

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Splashdown! welcome home Skylab 2!

Edited by TruthfulGnome
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Will the ISS come into play in some way? I know this is meant about skylab, but with it succeeding in this alternate history I'd assume it would have some effect on the development of the ISS.

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8 hours ago, Rutabaga22 said:

Will the ISS come into play in some way? I know this is meant about skylab, but with it succeeding in this alternate history I'd assume it would have some effect on the development of the ISS.

Yes most likely but that’s far down the road right now, I do have rough ideas on what would change with Freedom/ISS

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  • 3 weeks later...

Skylab 3 / SLM-2 - June 28 - September 25 1973

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After success with the saving of Skylab on Skylab 2, NASA moves ahead with the Skylab program many are hopeful of this new era in the space industry. The Skylab 3 crew will test the Astronaut Maneuvering Unit inside the workshop and the multiple experiments 

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Skylab 3 Rollout

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Skylab 3 awaiting on LC-39B

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Saturn booster marked with 'SA-207'. The first stage engines will be lit up at 3.1 second in the countdown.

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Liftoff!

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Inboard cutoff

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Tower Jettison

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Skylab 3 in orbit with Luna in the background

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We have a view of the workshop

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Docked

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After only a few days after launch the crew started to get hit with space sickness and became aware of a mysterious leak from one of the quad RCS thrusters on the Service Module. With this severity the rescue crew, Don Lind and Vance Brand started getting prepared for a launch in the Skylab Rescue Vehicle.

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KSC started to move fast and rolled out the special Skylab Rescue Saturn IB to LC-39B and arranged it for launch in the coming days.

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Ultimately these problems were fixed and the stack will be used for the upcoming Skylab mission.

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Alan Bean and Owen Garriott embark on an EVA to retrieve and add film

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Undocking

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View of Skylab from Skylab 3

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Deorbit

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Splashdown!





Sorry for this being short, Skylab 3 and 4 are very boring to recreate so excuse the lower quality

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Ok, this sounds wild, but hear me out, Lunar Skylab, in this universe where skylab succeeds, would nasa loose funding? maybe they could drum up interest with skylab! maybe there would be a lunar gateway style skylab.

 

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8 hours ago, Rutabaga22 said:

Ok, this sounds wild, but hear me out, Lunar Skylab, in this universe where skylab succeeds, would nasa loose funding? maybe they could drum up interest with skylab! maybe there would be a lunar gateway style skylab.

 

Lunar Skylab would be interesting but there’s only two Saturn Vs left (SA-514 and SA-515) meaning you have one to launch Moonlab and one to launch crew, you could have crew on the first one similar to Apollo Venus. They could also create more hardware and possibly a Saturn V with Shuttle derived hardware but that is costly. For this TL majority of the funding is in STS and Skylab for expansion 

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8 hours ago, TruthfulGnome said:

Got covid and won’t be able to work on Skylab 4, super sorry for inconsistency.

That's terrible! I hope you feel better.

No need to apologize for getting sick.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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