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Astronaut Goes On Strike In Outer Space

In 1974 Colonel William Pogue became the first American to go on strike—in space. The astronaut was part of the last, and longest, manned mission aboard the Skylab space station. About halfway through the 84-day mission, Colonel Pogue and the other astronauts requested ground controllers adjust the work schedule for more rest. "We had been over-scheduled," Pogue said. "We were just hustling the whole day. The work could be tiresome and tedious, though the view as spectacular."

Ground control refused. The work was too important, they said, and time was limited. Some worried the astronauts' request was a sign of depression or physical illness. Pogue insisted neither was the case. They just wanted more time to look out the window and think, he said. Eventually the disagreement between the crew and the controllers became so intense the astronauts went on strike. Finally, a compromise was reached to give the crew more time to rest during the remaining six weeks of the flight. Pogue later wrote that having more time to look out the window at the sun and earth below also made him reflect more about himself, his crewmen, and their "human situation, instead of trying to operate like a machine."

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