§ Mr. Alan Williams
asked the Prime Minister what consultations she has had with the United States Government about the reported change of orbit of the space station Skylab and about the possible significance of this change for the United Kingdom at the date of re-entry.
§ The Prime Minister
Her Majesty's Government have been in regular contact with the United States authorities about the re-entry into the earth's atmosphere of the Skylab space station, and have received up-to-date information about its orbital position and estimated time of re-entry. There has been no significant change in the orbit.
The latest information available from the United States authorities is that there is a 90 per cent. probability that Skylab will re-enter the earth's atmosphere between 7 and 17 July with the likely date being 12 July. It is not possible to be more precise because of variations in atmospheric density.
The outer limit of Skylab's path crosses the southernmost part of Cornwall and it is therefore theoretically possible that debris could land on some of the Southern Coast. The chances are, however, remote given the small area affected compared with the area of the earth traversed by Skylab. The United States Government have accepted liability under the 1972 Convention on International Liability for damage caused by space objects.