On this day in history, July 11, 1979, the space station Skylab crashed to earth as it dramatically showered debris.
The unmanned lab was shot into orbit in 1973 to perform experiments in space. On its 34,981st orbit, Skylab reentered the earth's atmosphere, and broke in to 5000-pound chunks that rained down over the Indian Ocean and Australia.
Only 20-25 tons of the original 77-ton instrument remained in tact. President Carter sent an apology to the Australians, saying that he was "concerned to learn that fragments of Skylab may have landed in Australia". A treaty was signed making the US liable for any damages caused by debris, but no damage was reported.
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