Spaceflight Insider

Remembering the U.S.’ first space station: Searching for Skylab

Skylab space station in orbit above Earth photo credit NASA - Copy

The Skylab space station in orbit above Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

Dwight Steven-Boniecki was intrigued. Why did it seem the Skylab missions generated so little interest among space enthusiasts? Curious, he decided to find out more about the subject. That interest has grown into a full-blown project.

Soon he was working very closely with the Alfred R. Neumann library at the University of Houston Clear Lake, which became instrumental in Steven-Boniecki writing “Live TV From Orbit” and compiling the  Skylab Mission Reports series in 2015 and 2016, which now reside in the library.

Filled with passion for the subject, Steven-Boniecki continued to collect and restore video, audio and written material on Skylab, eventually collecting an array of fascinating stories. 

Before long, he had more data than he knew what to do with it all – and then he had an idea.

He decided to use the 300 hours of archive footage and numerous hours of audio he had collected to produce a movie/documentary. With his passion, topic knowledge, TV production and engineering experience – Steven-Boniecki is a natural fit to produce such a documentary.

Steven-Boniecki works for the largest European broadcaster, RTL, and it was clear to his wife, Alexandra, that if anyone could pull of such a gargantuan project, Steven-Boniecki could.

This is how Alexandra’s company,1080 VMC, became the official executive producer of “Searching for Skylab – America’s Forgotten Triumph,” the first ever feature-length documentary in the past 45 years about this forgotten era of NASA’s human-rated space program.

From this moment on, Steven-Boniecki was focused on gathering the very personal memories of those who were part of the Skylab missions. The astronauts – Joseph P. Kerwin, Paul J. Weitz, Owen K. Garriott, Jack R. Lousma, Alan Bean (archive), Gerald P. Carr (archive), Edward Gibson, William R. Pogue (archive), Bruce McCandless, as well as the engineers in U.S. and Australia, the families and Dr. Kohoutek, the astronomer whose name has been given to the first comet ever observed from orbit.

Searching for Skylab” uncovers the accomplishments, the drama, the dangers, the successes, and the near failure that encompasses the story of the space station built essentially from spare parts leftover from the Apollo Program. If you never flew into space yourself and you’d like to experience what it takes to be an astronaut, you ought to find out watching the film. It’s absolutely thrilling.

“Today, we are relying on your help to promote our film of this incredible American achievement and to keep it alive in memory of the human race worldwide! Why? Because like experts agree: “It changed the way we live on this planet,” said Glenn Nagle, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.

Steven-Boniecki is looking to make Skylab a household name again.

This project is the culmination of dreams. Steven-Boniecki has been inspired by space exploration since December,1972 when he watched Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt walking on the lunar surface live on TV. Curious to know how such images were telecast back to Earth, he wrote his first book Live TV from the Moon back in 2010. His research connected him with many great people, but one in particular supported his efforts in recounting the stories from the Apollo era: Stan Lebar – Program Manager for the Westinghouse Apollo TV Camera Program.





The preceding is a press or news release either issued by one of the space agencies or by an aerospace firm or organization. The views expressed in the above post do not necessarily reflect those of SpaceFlight Insider.

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