A strike in outer space

On 28 December 1973, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) stopped receiving updates from its three astronauts- Jerry Carr, Ed Gibson and William Pogue stationed in space for project titled Skylab 4. The astronauts had been working for 16 hours every day for over a month without any breaks. They were demanded to fill out detailed activity charts on how they spent their day. On Christmas they demanded that their workload be reviewed, breaks after meals be increased and NASA should stop surveillance of their activities contending that they would not have been asked to work for 84 days straight without any leave. The plea went unheard by the ground force.

To register their protest, they switched off the radio connection with ground and spent the day relaxing, taking pictures and pursuing projects of their own interest. When the radio was switched back on, NASA accepted all their demands. The team was given full liberty to plan their day and carry on activities as they pleased. Sleep and rest time were increased and the work was restructured. Skylab 4 remains one of the most productive space exploration programs till date. Furthermore, it made NASA restructure their space program in tune with workers’ rights on the earth.

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