The Skylab space station in Earth orbit (NASA)
In 1973, NASA
sends its first space station, Skylab, into orbit. But Skylab
is abandoned in 1974. It costs too much to keep it supplied. NASA
needs a cheaper way to get crews and supplies to and from space.
So, they design the Space Transportation System (STS) with reusable
boosters for launch and a shuttle
that lands like an airplane.
Astronauts with new skills are needed for the shuttle program. NASA looks beyond military pilots to scientists. The agency is aware that Americans are demanding equal rights for minorities and women. The class of astronauts NASA selects in 1978 includes two African-American men, a man of Asian descent, and six women. One of these astronauts is Sally K. Ride.
though women can now be astronauts, not as many women apply
as men. Why do you think that is?