July 11, 1979

1979: Unable to be re-boosted by the Space Shuttle, which was not ready until 1981, Skylab’s orbit eventually decayed, and it disintegrated in the atmosphere on July 11, 1979, scattering debris across the Indian Ocean and Western Australia. As of 2023, Skylab was the only space station operated exclusively by the United States. A permanent station was planned to start in 1988, but its funding was canceled, and U.S. participation shifted to the International Space Station in 1993. Skylab tallied 38,981 orbits.