The Sky(lab) is Falling!
August 12, 2014 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Skylab is Falling! (SLYT) A seven minute Indian film about the 1979 Skylab "disaster" as seen through the eyes of a child.

Related commentary on the film and the events that inspired it:
The psychological effects of Skylab: divine retribution
posted by Michele in California (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I thought this was exciting. What I was really worried about was, killer bees.
posted by thelonius at 3:03 PM on August 12, 2014

I remember the Skylab worldwide panic, everyone thought it'd hit them smack on the head. I was in the Bay area at the time and they were selling a "Skylab early detection device" which consisted of a small metal plate attached to the top of a bellhop bell attached to the top of a red plastic firefighter's hat. "Will give 0.001 seconds early warning."
posted by mono blanco at 4:22 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I visited a contemplative Carmelite monastery in NJ the year we knew that Skylab was going to fall. I talked to the sister at the turn (a rotateable door that allowed small objects to be passed in/out & allowed visitors to talk to a sister without seeing her. )

She told me that the range of dates when Skylab was predicted to come down all fell within the novena to Mary, or something similar. The sisters were all praying assiduously for her intervention in having it fall somewhere it wouldn't do much damage.

When it fell into the ocean, I thought about those sisters a lot.
posted by Archer25 at 4:34 PM on August 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

This brings back a vivid childhood memory.

I remember moping around at home, just kind of kicking stuff around the floor and looking out the window periodically. My mom asked me if something was wrong. I told her, "I'm worried that Skylab is going to fall here and kill us." I looked at her expecting comfort, denial, something. But she just started laughing. Then she composed herself and told me that Skylab wasn't going to fall anywhere near us and probably wouldn't hurt anyone. I was relieved but didn't understand what was so funny about it. Now, as a parent, I do. She was right to laugh at me.
posted by brain_drain at 7:02 PM on August 12, 2014

Oh wow. MetaFilter is always so full of interesting surprises. This post brought up some lovely old memories. At the time of Skylab falling, I was living in India in 1979 in a Tibetan settlement, called Clement Town, an old British colonial military area, largely inhabited by Tibetan refugees.

My lovely neighbor was Lobsang the "tsembawa", tailor, who painted dragons on black velvet for extra money to support his wife and two young daughters. His youngest, Sonam, was very mischievous and my favorite Tibetan language teacher because she'd bluntly correct me, which none of the other Tibetans did and made learning the language really difficult. She was a bit like the boy, Puneet, in this little film.

Like most people in India at that time, the radio was the news source and I remember, as I was busy studying Tibetan Buddhism, Lobsang would keep me posted with world news and I will never forget the day he told me that the Skylab would fall somewhere in India. He wanted me to explain to him about Skylab, about which I knew nothing, as I'd been living in India for 4 years by then up in the mountains mostly and almost never read a paper. I was an inadequate representative of the technologically advanced West but I did explain a little about the Western space program.

It was one of those odd and ephemeral events, yet there was a feeling of importance in India that this significant science object would fall on the Indian subcontinent somewhere and also a sense of being connected with the West weirdly, that the world was one.

Charming and poignant little film. Thank you for your post, Michele in California.
posted by nickyskye at 12:53 AM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

Another (French) Perspective : Le Skylab - I very much enjoyed it ...
posted by fistynuts at 2:48 AM on August 13, 2014

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