Activating the station upon arrival was a challenge, but packing up to return home was also a major event that took several days. For Carr and his crew, this was the last planned visit, but they left open the possibility of a return visit at some point in the future.
The next time an American would venture outside of a spacecraft would be on a Space Shuttle flight and that was nine years later. In less than a decade, from June 1965 to February 1974, American astronauts had learned to effectively work in Earth orbit, had left their footprints on the moon, and had walked in space.
This crew was the first to celebrate a new year in space 17 times as they orbited the earth and moved through the time zones.
“We and everybody on the ground thought that it was going to be a beautiful, brilliant comet. It turned out to be beautiful all right, but it was so faint that we really had to work to find it. Once we did find it, we observed a gorgeous thing: small, fainter, but gorgeous! Although we took as many pictures as we could, I don’t think our film captured its beauty.” Jerry Carr.