Revisiting History: Skylab: The Launch and the Re-Entry

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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While filing research notes, I came across a simple sentence that Skylab had disintegrated on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. It jolted my memory because it had happened a number of years ago. It was an early stage of space exploration, and one that I remembered well. The world’s largest library, the Internet, gave me tons of information, more than I could ever cover in one article. What about time…the astrological necessity to do accurate work? Bulls-eye! I was able to obtain the official launch time and the official re-entry and disintegration, both in UTC timing. The launch was May 14, 1973, 1:30 PM EDT, Cape Canaveral (also known as Cape Kennedy), Florida. The re-entry was July 11, 1979, at 12:27 AM AWST at Esperance, Western Australia. That means the International Dateline is involved… so this could get interesting!

The launch Ascendant is 28 Leo 38. The Sun as ruler of the chart is 23 Taurus 46, conjoining the midheaven at 26 Taurus 31 and Mercury at 17 Taurus 04; also close is Venus at 2 Gemini 55 in the 10th. So the ruler of the chart and its companions square the Ascendant and conjunct the goal of the chart, the Midheaven and its ruler. The most stressful launch combination is Venus (ruler of the goal or mission) opposite retrograde Neptune at 6 Sagittarius 25 in the fourth house, both square Mars at 4 Pisces 37 in the seventh house, all applying (future) aspects. The angles as they progressed would activate first one and then another of the positions listed. This chart looks like you win some and you lose some. Although the launch was successful and the unmanned Skylab did reach its trajectory and orbit, it was not without incident. During launch, a major section tore off and damaged the solar array which was to provide battery power for the lab. It was repaired by subsequent manned flights.

For this article, we will focus on hard aspects: conjunction, opposition and square. Looking at the Sun, Midheaven and Ascendant degrees, three very strong fixed stars are in play.  The Sun at almost 24 Taurus, as well as the Midheaven, are 1˚ conjunct Caput Algol. The Ascendant is almost 29 Leo, conjunct Regulus and square the Pleiades.  Fixed stars lend prominence of the nature of the star and these three are considered malefic.

In just comparing the degrees of spread between natal positions, there were several combinations in the six-degree range. This is a simple “ball park” method of noting important upcoming periods as the evolution of the birth unfolds. Using this degree spread is evidenced by the time of re-entry and destruction six years and two months after launch. Those six-year developing aspects were Mercury to Sun, Midheaven to Venus, Ascendant to Mars, Jupiter to Mercury, Pluto to North Node, and Uranus to Moon. There are far more connections (I counted seventeen possibilities) reflecting a lot of activity in a relatively short period, but the six-year cluster intrigued me. Many other activities are clearly dated in the articles and can be further researched.

Much of my research writing involves natals, progressions and transits (diurnals), so I decided to check on Solar Arc and Radix Arc Primary Directions as well. I also cast the event chart for the re-entry/disintegration. In order to see any clustering of aspects between multiple charts, I created a spreadsheet. Natal sensitivities are given by the launch chart… the natal chart is acted upon. The moving positions then reflect the activating energies or “activators.”

  • Re-entry progressed, Solar and Radix Arc Midheavens remain quite close – 2 Gemini 22 to 36, all applying to the natal Venus, triggering the natal T-square with Venus opposite Neptune, both square Mars.
  • Re-entry progressed, Solar and Radix Arc Ascendants range from 3 Virgo 54 to 4 Virgo 43, triggering the natal Mars in the T-square complex. Note that the Solar Arc is closest within 3 minutes. 
  • Re-entry progressed, Solar and Radix Arc Suns are located at 29 Taurus 42 to 51, conjunct fixed Star Pleiades “something to weep about.” You can also read “finality” to the 29th degree of any sign.
  • From this point the three techniques start to diverge. The most prominent activations are Solar and Radix Arc Mercuries 23 Tau 00 to 09, as they move to conjunct the launch Sun, as well as Solar and Radix Arc Uranus 25 Libra 37 to 47 as they conjoin the launch Moon at 26 Libra 05.

A cluster of activity around 10 mutable is the next most prominent activation grouping, with no close connection (within 1 degree) to the natal. The launch mutable T-square is about 4˚ away. The natal promise is always primary, but there is a secondary promise possible from the progressed chart with Venus at 10 Gemini 29 and Mars at 8 Pisces 55. Ten mutable also ties us into the transits showing strong in the re-entry diurnal (launch personal transits) and the event itself (re-entry/destruction). The activations are: 

  • Progressed, Solar and Radix Arc Venus and Mars and re-entry diurnal and event Mars
  • Re-entry diurnal and event Saturn and North Node
  • Solar and Radix Arc Neptune

If you are not familiar with diurnals, simply set the launch chart, changing the date only to the re-entry. This creates a transit chart specific to the launch itself complete with Midheaven, Ascendant and accurate planet positions. This can be done for daily transits to any natal chart.

There can be distinct differences between the diurnal for a specific natal and the event charts. The planet positions will be reasonably close but the Ascendant, Midheaven and Moon can show substantial movement, plus house layouts can be completely different. To avoid duplication, I choose one as main and use only the Ascendant, Midheaven and Moon from the other.

The transiting re-entry charts show another cluster active at about 19 cardinal. The launch retrograde Uranus at 19 Libra 42 is being acted upon (receiver of activation). In six years, the progression has barely moved so it is both activating and being acted upon by other moving positions. The diurnal chart shows the most connections:

  • Midheaven 19 Cancer 20, Ascendant 18 Libra 26, Sun 18 Cancer 49, Pluto 16 Libra 29.

Note that the event Sun is 17 Can 50, a full degree from the diurnal Sun. Why? Here is where the International Date Line comes into play. The diurnal is set for Florida, the event chart is set for western Australia… one day difference in clock time, one degree on our charts.

What else is visible from the transits?

  • The event Moon 29 Capricorn 47 (end of sign) is conjunct the launch sixth cusp 29 Capricorn 42, within 5 minutes. The sixth house is the health or dis-ease of that natal chart. The event Midheaven is 27 Capricorn 05. 
  • The event Ascendant 24 Aries 30 is conjunct the launch ninth house of long distance travel, a really out-of-this-world experience – fell to Earth and gravity won!
  • Diurnal Pluto 16 Libra 29 is conjunct the diurnal Ascendant at 18 Libra 26, close to that 19 cardinal grouping. 

Remain aware that even though we think of this as a stand-alone event, it really was a process. Once Skylab’s orbit decayed enough that it started to enter Earth’s atmosphere, superheating began the disintegration before the impact itself. Official NASA time has been used, but at that speed it was both a process and an event. The debris field was elongated and huge. When it was over, it really wasn’t over. Anticipation had been built up around the world: a bit of fear, excitement, an almost circus-type atmosphere to find all of the debris. I had participated in a worldwide radio prayer group to keep Skylab in the sky to prevent injury and to preserve the dream. Scientists had a terrible time predicting and controlling the point of impact. Instead of landing in the ocean, it came down on a remote part of Australia with no human injury. Relief makes us giddy and the activities went on for some time. Skylab is a piece of our history.


Skylab UFO sightings:

Published in AFA Today’s Astrologer Jul 2017 vol 79#7, republished with slight editing. 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.