An illustration of a chick pointing to a UFO above it next to a speech bubble filled with black text on a yellow background.
Diane Terry July 1979
NASA’s Skylab Space Station fell from space after 2,249 days in orbit. In 1979 the space station disintegrated, causing mass panic as to where, when, and how the debris would impact Earth. This also sparked international media and merchandising of commemorative items, such as t-shirts, stickers, and this button!
NASA was able to accurately forecast how much debris would make it through the atmosphere and into Earth, luckily the surviving debris was scattered across the ocean or in sparsely populated areas. Portions of the Skylab arrived at the Earth's surface on July 12, 1979 in the rural town of Esperance, Western Australia. Former President Jimmy Carter issued an apology to Australia, and the United States was issued a $400 littering fine from Esperance. The debt was generously paid in 2009 by a local American radio station. The Skylab was the first U.S. space station.