Little Bits of History

May 23

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 23, 2017

1906: Henrik Ibsen dies at the age of 78. He was born into a prosperous merchant family in Skien, Grenland, Norway. The family ancestors were Danish ship captains who settled in the port town and became merchants. When Henrik was seven, his father lost most of the family fortune and they were forced to move into their rural summer house and sell off most of the family holdings. The family’s misfortune would later turn up in several of the playwright’s work. Henrik’s father married into his step-father’s family and Henrik was also intrigued with what he called their “strange, almost incestuous marriage” which also became a topic for later plays.

When he was 15, Henrik was forced by economics to leave school and become an apprentice pharmacist in Grimstad. He would never return to his home town. He also began writing plays at the time. At age 18, he fathered an illegitimate child who he monetarily supported but never saw. Instead, he left for the big city, what would eventually be called Oslo, and hoped to matriculate into university. He was unable to pass the entrance exams and so continued writing plays. His first play was published under a pseudonym in 1850 when he was 22. It was never performed. His first play to make it the stage was also in 1850 and it was not a hit. He continued writing, without much success.

Ibsen was employed at Det Norske Theater for the next several years and was part of 145 plays as writer, director, and producer. During the time, he published five more unremarkable plays. Although still not a writing success, he gathered experience of the theater which would be useful later. He returned to Oslo for a job at Christiania Theatre, married, and his son was born. Still unsuccessful, he moved to Italy to begin a 27 year self-imposed exile. In 1865 he finally wrote his first acclaimed play, Brand. Two years later, Peer Gynt, influenced by his reading of philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, was produced. With success, Ibsen began to include even more of his own beliefs and judgments into what he called the “drama of ideas”.

He went on to write many impressive and still performed plays. Shakespeare is the only playwright with more plays still being performed. During the 20th century, the most performed play was A Doll’s House which Ibsen wrote in 1879. The controversial play explored women’s roles in marriage and allowed the wife/mother an escape from her bonds in order to find her true self outside the confines imposed by society. Many of his later works were considered scandalous at the time. Ibsen returned to Norway in 1891, but it was not the same place he had left decades before. Life was modernizing. He suffered several strokes during the 1900s and succumbed to the accumulative effects, on this day.

A forest bird never wants a cage.

A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.

Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.

Castles in the air – they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build too. – all from Henrik Ibsen

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May 22

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 22, 2017

1762: The Trevi Fountain is officially opened by Pope Clemens XIII. According to legend, in 19 BC some Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl to a source of pure water about eight miles outside the city of Rome. Augustus commissioned a 14-mile long aqueduct to be built, bringing the pure water into the city proper. It was called Aqua Virgo or Virgin Waters as an honorary nod to the young girl. The waters supplied the hot Baths of Agrippa for over 400 years. In 1629, Pope Urban VIII proposed building a new and more dramatic fountain at the site and even asked Bernini to design it. The Pope died and the fountain project was abandoned, at least for a time.

In 1730, Pope Clement XII organized a contest to supply ideas for a new fountain as much of the city was being upgraded in the Baroque style. Alessandro Galilei (a relative of the more famous Galileo, and a Florentine) won, but the Romans were outraged with a Florentine’s win and so the commission was given to runner up, Nicola Salvi. Using Salvi’s plans, work on the massive fountain began in 1732. Salvi died in 1751 and the project was finished with the placement of Pietro Bracci’s Oceanus into the central niche. The fountain was built at the juncture of three roads (hence the name – tre vie). The entire structure rises 86 feet and is 161 feet wide making it the largest Baroque fountain in Rome as well as one of the best known fountains in the world. Most of the Travertine stone used in construction came from Tivoli, 22 miles away.

The backdrop for the fountain is the Palazzo Poli. The palace was given its monumental façade especially as a setting for the fountain. Luigi Vanvitelli’s palace design was altered when the central portion was demolished specifically for the building of the Trevi Fountain. Because of erosion over time, the fountain has been refurbished and in 1998, all the stonework was scrubbed and all cracks were repaired along with other areas of deterioration. Skilled artisans worked to restore the beauty while recirculating pumps were added to the fountain itself.

In January 2014, Fendi (Italian fashion company) announced a plan for more restoration and upgrades. They would sponsor a 20-month program and spend €2.2 million on the project which would be the most comprehensive restoration ever undertaken. Work began in June 2014 and was completed with an official reopening ceremony on November 3, 2015. Part of the upgrades were the installation of more than 100 LED lights to improve the nighttime illumination of the fountain. Throwing coins in the fountain is to be done by using the right hand to toss money over the left shoulder. About €3,000 is thrown into the fountain daily. The retrieved money is used to subsidize food for Rome’s needy.

I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall. – Mike May

Water is the driving force of all nature. – Leonardo da Vinci

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. – John W. Gardner

The fall of dropping water wears away the Stone. – Lucretius

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May 21

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2017

1881: The American Red Cross (ARC) is founded. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was established in 1863 by Jean-Henri Dunant. The businessman was in Solferino on the evening after a battle was fought during the Austro-Sardinian War. There were about 40,000 soldiers dead or wounded that day and many of them were still in the fields. There was a near total lack of medical care available for either side’s casualties. Dunant abandoned his immediate business concern and began to help locals care of the wounded. Upon his return home, he wrote A  Memory of Solferino and sent copies to political and military men throughout Europe. He advocated for national voluntary relief organizations to help the wounded and treaties to help protect those offering medical care.

The Red Cross was the outcome. Established as a private humanitarian institution, politically neutral, and offering life-giving assistance to any wounded soldiers, the 25-member committee created this way to help casualties of war. Today, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies exist in almost every country in the world. There are 190 recognized National Societies with each working in their home country and following international humanitarian principles. Extra projects can also be carried out, if resources permit, and many times the Red Cross or Red Crescent are linked with the national health care system to help provide emergency medical services.

Clara Barton (1821-1912) was an American nurse during the US Civil War. She was also a teacher and a patent clerk. But her most noteworthy accomplishment was founding the ARC and acting as the first president. On May 12, Barton held a meeting at the home of Senator Omar Conger with fifteen people present. At the meeting was Congressman William Lawrence who would serve as ARC’s original vice-president. Barton had learned about the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland in 1869 when she traveled to help ease suffering in the Franco-Prussian War. After her return, she began work to establish the Red Cross in America. The first chapter was opened in upstate New York.

Today, the ARC is an integral part of the health care system. They are noted for their blood banks and research as well as disaster relief efforts. Disaster relief came early with their first major crisis taking place in September 1881 when over 5,000 people were left homeless after a fire in Michigan. The next major disaster was the Johnstown Flood in 1889. Each year, the ARC responds to more than 70,000 disasters ranging from private house fires to major catastrophes. Some of the most noted disasters of this millennium have been Hurricane Katrina, Comair Flight 5191 crash, the 2007 tornadoes in Florida and Kansas, and the I-35 Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.

The surest test of discipline is its absence.

This conflict is one thing I’ve been waiting for. I’m well and strong and young – young enough to go to the front. If I can’t be a soldier, I’ll help soldiers.

I wonder if a soldier ever does mend a bullet hole in his coat? – all from Clara Barton

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May 20

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 20, 2017

1521: The Battle of Pampeluna takes place. The battle was a part of the Italian War of 1521-26 and is sometimes called the Four Years War. France (with the help of Swiss mercenaries) and Venice were up against the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, England, and the Papal States. Charles V was elected as Holy Roman Emperor with backing from Pope Leo X as a means of repressing Martin Luther. The French-Navarrese expedition tried to reconquer Navarre, unsuccessfully and the Pope, Emperor, and Henry VIII signed an agreement against France and took up, once again, fighting in the Italian Peninsula and northeast France.

Pampeluna, also known as Pamplona, is in northern Spain, close to the French border. It is the capital city of Navarre, which was at this time in history, the Kingdom of Navarre. The small kingdom was sandwiched between Castile and Aragon with France to the north and with small pockets of English ruled lands around it. The French backed the Navarrese as they took up arms against the invading Spanish (both Castile and Aragon). On this day, Inigo Lopez de Loyola, was seriously injured when a Navarrese cannonball shattered his legs. The soldier so impressed the opposition with his bravery, tradition says they carried him all the way back to his hometown, Loyola.

The injuries required a long recovery time and during his imposed bed rest, he began meditations. This in turn, helped him turn his life around and he left the world of warriors and began his life as a priest. The man from Castile is known to us today as Ignatius of Loyola. He was born in 1491, the youngest of 13 children. His mother died soon after his birth. As a boy, he became a page in the service of a relative, the treasurer of the kingdom of Castile. He became enchanted by the stories of El Cid and joined the army at age 17. He was known as flamboyant young man, womanizer, and violent. With age, he became more diplomatic and came into the service of the Duke of Najera. After his injury, he returned home, underwent several surgeries to “fix” his legs (no anesthesia at the time) and eventually recovered, although one leg was shorter and he always walked with a limp.

As he recovered, he decided to redirect his life to the service of God and hoped to convert infidels in the Holy Land. A year later, when he could walk again, he went to a Benedictine monastery and had a vision. He hung up his sword and began to seriously study. He gathered together with six companions who worked together to form the Society of Jesus, aka the Jesuits. Their dedication to evangelism and apostolic ministry is legendary with founding of schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries around the globe. They are known for their intellectual research as well as piety and service. Ignatius of Loyola died in Rome in 1556 at the age of 64. He was beatified in 1609 and canonized a saint in 1622.

One rare and exceptional deed is worth far more than a thousand commonplace ones.

It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey.

Teach us to give and not to count the cost.

Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent. – all from Ignatius of Loyola

May 19

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 19, 2017

2015: At 11.30 AM, Line 901 is shut down. Plaines All American Pipeline, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a Master limited partnership in the oil transportation, marketing, and storage business. Near Santa Barbara, California, offshore oil and gas production is big business. The offshore platforms produce oil and natural gas and the products are piped onshore for processing. Line 901 was 10.6 miles long and the 24-inch pipe was laid in 1987. The pipe carried 2 million gallons of crude oil a day with temperatures reaching as high as ⁰F 120. To help the oil flow, it was blended with natural gas liquids. The pipelines were installed because it was thought to be a safer option over the previously used truck transport system.

Inspections of the pipe prior to this event showed extensive corrosion and thinning of the pipeline walls. There was no automatic shut off valve on the line since it was not an intrastate line. The last comprehensive inspection took place in July 2012. Plaines claimed installing a shut off valve would create potential dangers. Three Exxon Mobil offshore platforms transport oil to onshore tanks for processing via the Line 901 pipeline. It arrives at Las Flores Canyon and a pump station then sends the crude via Line 903 (also reported to be sub-optimal) for 128 miles to a gathering facility before moving it on to refineries throughout Southern California.

Gaviota coast, the narrow coastal terrace where the spill took place, is used for recreation and cattle grazing. Oil processing facilities are kept to a minimum as the land is protected by the Williamson Act. The nearest city is Goleta and about 11 miles south. Gaviota is unique for the biodiversity of ocean life due to a mix of cold northern waters and warm southern ones. The annual migration of Gray whales was in progress on this day as about 19,000 of the beasts swam through the Santa Barbara Channel. At 11.30 on this day, pipeline operators in Midland, Texas noticed pressure anomalies and shut down Line 901. By 11.40 the Santa Barbara County Fire Department were on scene after reports of a strange smell. They found crude oil flowing from a drainage culvert out into the Pacific Ocean.

Due to cascading effects of problems and inefficiencies, a total of 142,800 gallons of crude oil were spilled into this unique environment. The pipeline remains indefinitely closed. The financial impacts to the county have been estimated as high as $74 million should the pipeline remain out of service for three years. The cost of the clean up was about $96 million with overall expenses including legal claims and settlements estimated at $257 million. Hundreds of coastal animals were found coated in crude oil and many of them died. The state parks and beaches were temporarily closed. Because of the biodiversity of the area, it has long been studied by environmentalists who continue to monitor the region to determine the long range effects of this spill.

If you ask the fish whether they’d rather have an oil spill or a season of fishing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d vote for another blowout. – Carl Safina

We pull out of the ground death, we burn death in our power plants, and then we act shocked when we get death in the form of oil spills and global warming. – Van Jones

Have you been following the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Or as we call it now, the Dead Sea. – David Letterman

This is an opportunity for the port and all of us to make a bold statement about how oil companies contribute to climate change, oil spills and other environmental disasters. – Ed Murray

May 18

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 18, 2017

1302: The Matins of Bruges takes place. Today, Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. Matins refers to the monastic liturgy in which prayers are offered up at specific times of the day or night with the ones here being recited during the night and ending at dawn. It is also a reference to the Sicilian Vespers of 1282 when locals rebelled against French rule on the island. Bruges held the exclusive rights to import sheep’s wool from England. This greatly benefited bourgeoisie of the city. Edward I, King of England (1272 – 1307) began to deal directly with European customers and the monopolies of Bruges lost their advantage.

The traders and their political allies called on Philip the Fair (King of France from 1285 – 1314) to help them maintain the monopoly. The King sent in French troops and had them garrisoned in houses around the city. Pieter de Coninck was a local weaver. He teamed up with Jan Breydel, a butcher, and the two gathered together a group of concerned citizens. Many people feared the troops in Bruges and saw them as an incursion from France. The armed men went from house to house and asked suspects to repeat a shibboleth. “Schild en vriend” means “shield and friend” and was difficult for the Frenchmen to say. This gave them away as being French and they were stabbed, still in their nightgowns.

The governor, Jacques de Chatillion, escaped along with a few others. About 2,000 people were killed. The night’s events led to the Battle of the Golden Spurs on July 11 which found the French defeated. The Franco-Flemish War would continue on for a few more years and France won, overall. Flanders remained independent, but at a high cost. Both Coninck and Breydel were seen as heroes and their statue has stood in Bruges since 1887.

Shibboleths have been used since biblical times and the terms itself comes from the Bible. It literally means the part of the plant containing the grains but in other contexts can mean “stream, torrent”. It was used to distinguish Ephraimites from Gileadites because the latter could not pronounce the SH as in shoe. It appeared in the Book of Judges as a way to tell one group from the other. It has been used militarily, with this being one early incidence. While the test may seem foolproof, there is controversy over it. Some of the people belonging to the “in” group may be from a slightly different cultural setting and not have the same phonetics available to them. Today, it has even taken on the mean of jargon which identifies people as members of certain subcultures.

Since governments take the right of death over their people, it is not astonishing if the people should sometimes take the right of death over governments – Guy de Maupassant

Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. – Albert Camus

Awake, arise or be for ever fall’n. – John Milton

So few want to be rebels anymore. And out of those few, most, like myself, scare easily. – Ray Bradbury

May 17

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 17, 2017

1521: Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, is executed. Edward was born in 1478 into a family with aristocratic ties and was the nephew of Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort of King Edward IV. As the eldest son of the second duke, he stood to gain the title. His father participated in a rebellion against King Richard III and was charged with treason. The second duke was beheaded without trial on November 2, 1483. At that point, all the family’s honors were forfeit. Edward remained hidden during the rebellion and possibly for the rest of Richard’s reign. When King Henry VII defeated Richard III at Bosworth in 1485, Edward was returned to his aristocratic holdings. He was able to attend Henry’s coronation as a Duke. The seven year old was given to Margaret Beaufort, the King’s mother, to raise.

Edward was educated and trained in various royal households and became a Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1495. At the age of 19, he was a captain in the forces sent out to maintain order in Cornwall after a rebellion started there. He was known as a fancy dresser at court and at Prince Arthur’s wedding, is said to have worn an outfit costing £1500. He was also the chief challenger at the tournament the following day. Edward was part of the coronation ceremony for King Henry VIII and was part of his Privy Council. Edward received permission from his friend/king to rebuild the family manor house in the style of a massive crenellated castle. Edward served his King in both military and home endeavors.

Edward was one of just a few peers with substantial Plantagenet blood and had ties to much of the upper aristocracy. Because of these ties, Henry began to have his doubts and in 1520 the King ordered Edward to be investigated for possible treasonous actions. The King personally interviewed witnesses to gather information for a trial. The Duke was summoned to the court in April 1521 whereupon he was arrested and placed in the Tower. He was tried in front of a panel of 17 peers and was accused of listening to prophecies of the King’s death and intending to kill the King. Sir Thomas More complained that evidence supplied by servants were hearsay. This made no difference at the trial and Edward was found guilty.

He was executed on Tower Hill on this day. He was 43 years old. An Act of Parliament on July 31, 1523 stripped him of all his titles and family holdings as well as blocked the inheritance of any titles and holdings. John Guy, present day historian, concluded this was one of the rare executions of aristocrats in which the person was “almost certainly guilty”. Edward had four legitimate children. His son became 1st Baron Stafford and all three of his daughters married into aristocratic families, one marrying a duke, one an earl, and the last a baron. This three illegitimate children didn’t fare quite as well although Edward did manage to have his other daughter marry the half-brother of an earl.

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. – William Blake

It’s hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you in it. – Nicole Richie

Betrayal is the only truth that sticks. – Arthur Miller

It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them. – Confucius

May 16

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 16, 2017

1891: The International Electrotechnical Exhibition opens in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The exhibition ran until October 19 on the sites of three former Western Railway Stations, located on the western outskirts of the city. The Elektrotechnische Gesellschaft (Electrotechnical Society) was founded in 1881 in Frankfurt with the goal of promoting electricity and research into uses for industry and technology. By 1884, ten manufacturers of electrical equipment had moved to the city and by 1890 some of the major players in the German power infrastructure had moved there. A “second industrial revolution” found roots in the city as new ideas were explored and electricity took over as the power source once held by steam engines.

Paris was host to a World Fair in 1889 and inspired Leopold Sonnermann to put forth the idea to the Electrotechnical Society to host their own exhibition. The issues at hand were twofold. The newly emerging markets for electricity needed to be explored and opportunities were abundant for further uses. A second concern was for Frankfurt itself. They were planning a new power station and the city’s political and technical leaders were unsure which type of power to produce. At the time there were three options: direct current, alternation current, and three-phase current. The exhibition would be the place for each type of power to demonstrate benefits and show why it was the most commercially viable.

Lauffen am Necker was about 110 miles away. They would produce three-phase current and transmit the high voltage power to Frankfurt with a minimal loss of 25%. The highlight of the exhibition was a three-section entrance gate with the center gate’s signage saying: Power Transmission Lauffen–Frankfurt 175 km (in German). The two side rectangles bore signs proclaimed Allgemeine Electricitätsgesellschaft (AEG – General Electricity Company) and Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (Oerlikon Engineering Works). The entire entrance was ablaze with 1000 light bulbs and that wasn’t all. Inside was an electrically powered waterfall to amaze the 1,200,000 visitors from around the world. The ticket to enter was 15 marks, about $200 today.

The exhibition was so successful, it helped Germany decide on the way to power itself. It found the most economical means of transmitting power to be the three-phase current and the Lauffen station continued operation after the event. Frankfurt went on to built its own power station nearby and a third private company built one in Bockenheim. The three-phase current is a type of polyphase system and is the most common method used by electrical grids worldwide. It is usually more economical than a single-phase for the same voltage because it uses less conductor material to move the same amount of power.

Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs. – Nikola Tesla

Electricity for example was considered a very Satanic thing when it was first discovered and utilized. – Zeena Schreck

There is a force more powerful than steam and electricity: the will. – Fernán Caballero

Is it a fact – or have I dreamt it – that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time? – Nathaniel Hawthorne

May 15

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 15, 2017

1800: James Hadfield or Hatfield attempts an assassination. James was born in 1771 or 1772 and his early life remains a mystery. He served with the British Army at the Battle of Tourcoing in 1794, a part of the French Revolutionary Wars. James was captured by the French but not before sustaining eight saber wounds to the head. The scars remained prominent for the rest of his life. He was eventually able to return to England and joined the Millennialist Movement. The premise advanced by this group was that a major change in society could be hurried along by getting enough people (the thousand mentioned in the millennial portion of the name) to bring about beginning changes. James believed the Second Coming of Jesus Christ could be moved forward by assassinating members of the government.

He and Bannister Truelock plotted to kill King George III in order to bring peace to the world. On this day while the King was at the Theatre Royal, in Drury Lane, the national anthem was played. During the performance, James took a pistol out and fired on the King standing in the royal box. He missed completely. James was arrested and tried for high treason. His defense was led by Thomas Erskine, a famous lawyer of the day. A plea of insanity was submitted. At the time, to be considered legally insane, one had to be “incapable of forming a judgement upon the consequences of the act which he is about to do.” Since there was planning involved in the assassination attempt, this bar was not met.

The 1795 Treason Act held no distinction between plotting treason and actually committing it and by this reasoning, even though James missed his mark, he had committed treason. Erskine challenged the insanity test and insisted the delusional state, even if unaccompanied by “frenzy or raving madness” was true insanity. Two surgeons and a physician testified that James’s history of head trauma led to delusional thinking. Judge Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon, acquitted James, but opined that returning him to his family was also not an option and he needed to be removed from society at large for his own sake as well as the safety of others.

Before this time, if a person was judged insane, he was simply returned home. The Criminal Lunatics Act 1800 was quickly passed and given royal assent on July 28, 1800. It established the procedure for indefinite detention of mentally ill offenders. James was sent to Bethlem Royal Hospital for the rest of his life. He briefly escaped and was recaptured as he tried to flee to France. He was held in Newgate Prison until being transferred to Bethlehem Hospital (aka Bedlam). He died there from tuberculosis in 1841, outliving his intended victim by 21 years. King George III also went insane, but was able to be cared for outside the hospital system.

The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept. – George Carlin

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. – Edgar Allan Poe

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane. – Philip K. Dick

One person’s craziness is another person’s reality. – Tim Burton

May 14

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 14, 2017

1973: the United States launches Skylab. Before a space program was even begun, scientists and science fiction writers agreed on the need for a space station. A waypoint in near space from which other projects could be launched. The Department of Defense and NASA worked together and beginning in 1963 began to develop plans for a space station. The first of these was a small station which was to be used mainly for reconnaissance. Both entities were competing for the same funding and the project never was able to come to fruition. The Apollo project with the goal of landing a man on the Moon took precedence and that goal was achieved in 1969.

Partly to keep the 400,000 NASA workers employed and partly because a Space Station was a really good idea, a new project was proposed by Wernher von Braun in 1964. His design was much larger than the prior DoD and NASA project called for. More ideas came in and the design was upgraded. More launches took place, still trying to get mankind to the Moon. Plans had to be modified again. This time, the actual comfort of the humans who would be manning the space station were also considered. Due to the experience gathered for the Apollo flights, even the food would be better. Also in the plans was a possible need for rescue for stranded astronauts, should that become necessary.

On August 8, 1969 the McDonnell Douglas Corporation got the contract to convert two existing S-IVB stages of Saturn rockets into the Orbital Workshop configuration. The Orbital Workshop was renamed Skylab in February 1970. On this day, Skylab was launched but it was damaged during the event and lost the micrometeoroid shield/sun shade and one of the solar panels. Debris from the mishap pinned the other solar panel and prevented deployment. As soon as the launch took place, work on the Space Shuttle program was ramped up. There were three manned missions to Skylab (SL-2, SL-3, and SL-4) with the first taking place May 26 to June 22, 1973 and the last from November 16, 2973 to February 8, 1974. A fourth trip was cancelled.

Many important experiments were done by the three 3-man teams sent up to Skylab, along with many repairs to the craft itself. There was talk of reactivating Skylab after the Space Shuttles became operational, since having people already up there would free up Shuttle time. Skylab was set to reenter the atmosphere in nine years. As time ran out for the Space Station, the world began to show some concern for the re-entry process. The exact landing spot for the station was unknown but NASA figured the odds of any particular human being hit with debris was 1 in 600 million. This statistic stood alongside the one saying the odds of any human being hit was 1 in 152. Skylab landed back on Earth on July 11, 1979 about 300 miles southeast of Perth, Australia. No humans were hit.

By 1973, we had a space station, the Skylab, and we had multiple probes going up to planets. So, all this wonderful stuff happened in 10 to 15 years. About that time, there should have been enormous initiatives to make it affordable for people to fly in space, not just a handful of trained NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts. – Burt Rutan

When you’re finally up at the moon looking back on earth, all those differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend, and you’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people. – Frank Borman

It’s tiny out there…it’s inconsequential. It’s ironic that we had come to study the Moon and it was really discovering the Earth. – Bill Anders

Oddly enough the overriding sensation I got looking at the earth was, my god that little thing is so fragile out there. – Mike Collins

 

 

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