Homesteading Space


Homesteading Space

The Skylab Story

David Hitt, Owen Garriott, and Joe Kerwin
Foreword by Homer Hickam

Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight Series

568 pages
50 illustrations, 1 table, 1 appendix


November 2011


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

November 2008


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

As the United States and the Soviet Union went from exploring space to living in it, a space station was conceived as the logical successor to the Apollo moon program. But between conception and execution stood the vastness of space itself, to say nothing of the monumental technological challenges. Homesteading Space, by two of Skylab’s own astronauts and a NASA journalist, tells the dramatic story of America’s first space station from beginning to fiery end.
Homesteading Space is much more than a story of technological and scientific success; it is also an absorbing, sometimes humorous, often inspiring account of the determined, hardworking individuals who shepherded the program through a near-disastrous launch, a heroic rescue, an exhausting study of Comet Kohoutek, and the lab's ultimate descent into the Indian Ocean. Featuring the unpublished in-flight diary of astronaut Alan Bean, the book is replete with the personal recollections and experiences of the Skylab crew and those who worked with them in training, during the mission, and in bringing them safely home.

Author Bio

David Hitt is a journalist, writer, and editor for NASA Educational Technology Services. Owen Garriott is a former NASA astronaut—and one of the first six scientist-astronauts selected in 1965. He was stationed on Skylab in 1973 and later flew STS-9, the first international Spacelab mission. A former NASA astronaut, Joe Kerwin is also one of the first scientist-astronauts selected in 1965 and flew on the first Skylab mission in 1973. Alan Bean is the former spacecraft commander of Skylab 3 and became the fourth man to walk on the moon in 1969. Homer Hickam is a former NASA engineer.


"A worthy account of an important but largely forgotten program. . . . For those who would like to learn more about the achievement, Homesteading Space offers valuable personal recollections from those who were there."—Roger Launius, Air & Space

“A well-told saga of Skylab from start to fiery fall.”—Coalition for Space Exploration

“Savvy consumers of space history have come to expect high quality in the ‘Outward Odyssey—A People's History of Spaceflight’ series edited by Colin Burgess. This fourth volume definitely does not disappoint.”—Rick W. Sturdevant, Air Power History

“Published here for the first time, [Alan] Bean’s diary, added to voice transcripts of space walks, produces the you-are-there immediacy that buffs crave.”—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"Homesteading Space is not just about the scientific knowledge that was obtained in orbit—this is the story of the astronauts who conducted the experiments, who lived in space for weeks or months at a time, and how they coped."—Andrew J. Liptak, Worlds in a Grain of Sand blog

"The success of our nation's first space station did not come easily. The challenges were met with vision, courage, and competence. Those who personified these traits forcefully and honestly tell their stories here unfiltered by writers or press. The result is both historically significant and a great read."—Ed Gibson, Skylab III science pilot and author

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Homer Hickam
1. From the Ground Up
2. The Homesteaders
3. Getting Ready to Fly
4. Fifty-six Days in a Can
5. A Tour of Skylab
6. Ten Days in May
7. "We Fix Anything"
8. "Marooned"
9. High Performance
10. Sprinting a Marathon
11. Science on Skylab
12. What Goes Up
13. The Legacy of Skylab
Appendix: Alan Bean's In-Flight Diary

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