Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-51-F



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STS-51-F
Launch of the STS 51-F Challenger
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-F
Kathleen England watches her image transmitted to shuttle
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-F
View of Spacelab 2 pallet in the open payload bay
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-F
Southern Italy, Instrument Pointing Subsystem
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-F
View of the Challenger's payload bay and the SOUP experiment
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-F
View of the Plasma Diagnostics Package (PDP)
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-F
Astronaut Anthony W. England with soft drink in middeck area near galley
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-F
Landing of the Shuttle Challenger at Edwards AFB and end of STS 51-F mission
Credit: NASA
Crew: Acton, Bartoe, Bridges, England, Fullerton, Henize, Musgrave. Manned seven crew. Number one engine shut down prematurely during ascent; abort to orbit declared. Mission continued. Launched PDP; carried Spacelab 2. Primary O-ring was affected by heat.

Manned seven crew. At 5 minutes, 45 seconds into ascent the number one engine shut down prematurely due to a a sensor problem and an abort to orbit was declared. Despite the anomaly the mission continued. Launched PDP; carried Spacelab 2. Payloads: Spacelab-2 with 13 experiments, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), Protein Crystal Growth (PCG). The flight crew was divided into a red and blue team. Each team worked 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation.

Orbits of Earth: 126. Distance traveled: 5,284,350 km. Orbiter Liftoff Mass: 114,590 kg. Orbiter Mass at Landing: 98,307 kg. Payload to Orbit: 15,603 kg. Payload Returned: 15,603 kg. Landed at: Runway 23 dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, . Landing Speed: 368 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 1,131 m. Landing Rollout: 2,611 m.

NASA Official Mission Narrative

Mission Name: 51-F (19)
CHALLENGER (8)
Pad 39-A (31)
19th Shuttle mission
8th Flight OV-099
RSLS Abort after SSME Ignition (2)
Abort-to orbit (1)
Extended mission

Crew:
Gordon Fullerton (2), Commander
Roy D. Bridges (1), Jr., Pilot
F. Story Musgrave (2), Mission Specialist 1
Anthony W. England (1), Mission Specialist 2
Karl G. Henize (1), Mission Specialist 3
Loren W. Acton (1), Payload Specialist 1
John-David F. Bartoe (1), Payload Specialist 2

Milestones:
OPF - May 12,1985
VAB - June 24, 1985
PAD - June 29, 1985

Payload:
SPACELAB-2,SAREX(1),CBDE,PGU
Mission Objectives:
The Spacelab-2 payload consisted of an igloo and three pallets in the payload bay, containing scientific instruments dedicated to life sciences, plasma physics, astronomy, high-energy astrophysics, solar physics, atmospheric physics and technology research.
A major objective of the mission was to verify the performance of the Spacelab systems with the orbiter as well as to measure the environment created by the vehicle in space.

Launch:
July 29, 1985, 5:00:00 p.m. EDT. Launch countdown July 12 halted at T-3 seconds after main engine ignition when a malfunction of number two Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) coolant valve caused shutdown of all three main engines. Launch July 29 delayed one hour, 37 minutes due to problem with table maintenance block update uplink. Five minutes, 45 seconds into ascent, number one main engine shutdown prematurely, resulting In an Abort To Orbit (ATO) trajectory. Launch Weight: 252,855 lbs.
Orbit:
Altitude: 173nm
Inclination: 49.5 degrees
Orbits: 127
Duration: 7 days, 22 hours, 45 minutes; 26 seconds.
Distance: 3,283,543 miles

Hardware:
SRB: BI-017
SRM: M019(HPM)
ET : 19/LWT-12
MLP : 2
SSME-1: SN-2023
SSME-2: SN-2020
SSME-3: SN-2021

Landing:
August 6, 1985, 12:45:26 p.m. PDT, Runway 23, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Rollout distance: 8,569 feet. Rollout time: 55 seconds. Mission extended 17 revolutions for additional payload activities due to abort-to-orbit. Orbiter returned to KSC Aug. 11, 1985. Landing Weight: 216,735 lbs.

Mission Highlights:
Primary payload was Spacelab-2. Despite abort-to-orbit, which required mission replanning, mission declared success. Special part of modular Spacelab system, the Igloo, located at head of three-pallet train, provided on-site support to instruments mounted on pallets. Main mission objective was to verify performance of Spacelab system sand determine interface capability of orbiter, and measure environment induced by spacecraft. Experiments covered life sciences, plasma physics, astronomy, high energy astrophysics, solar physics, atmospheric physics and technology research.
The flight marked the first time the ESA Instrument Pointing System (IPS) was tested in orbit. This unique experiment pointing enstrument was designed with an accuracy of one arc second. Initially, some problems were experienced when it was commanded to track the Sun. A series of software fixes were made and the problem was corrected.

AKA: Challenger.
First Launch: 1985.07.29.
Last Launch: 1985.08.06.
Duration: 7.95 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Henize Henize, Dr Karl Gordon (1926-1993) American astronomer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-F. More...
  • Musgrave Musgrave, Dr Franklin Story (1935-) American physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-6, STS-51-F, STS-33, STS-44, STS-61, STS-80. Flew in space six times. More...
  • Acton Acton, Dr Loren Wilber (1936-) American solar physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-F. More...
  • Fullerton Fullerton, Charles Gordon (1936-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-3, STS-51-F. More...
  • England England, Dr Anthony Wayne 'Tony' (1942-) American geophysicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-F. More...
  • Bridges Bridges, Roy Dunbard Jr (1943-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-51-F. Grew up in Gainesville, Georgia. Flew 226 combat missions in Vietnam. More...
  • Bartoe Bartoe, Dr John David Francis (1944-) American astrophysicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-F. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Challenger American manned spaceplane. 10 launches, 1983.04.04 (STS-6) to 1986.01.28 (STS-51-L). More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NASA Houston American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Houston, Houston, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...

STS-51-F Chronology


1985 July 12 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle.
  • Shuttle Challenger Pad Abort - . Nation: USA. Program: STS. Flight: STS-51-F. Spacecraft: Challenger. Summary: The countdown for Challenger's launch was halted at T-3 seconds when on-board computers detected a problem with a coolant valve on main engine #2. The valve was replaced and Challenger was launched on July 29, 1985..

1985 July 29 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-26/51-F.
  • STS-51-F - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Acton; Bartoe; Bridges; England; Fullerton; Henize; Musgrave. Payload: Challenger F08 / PDP / Spacelab 2 PLT. Mass: 15,603 kg (34,398 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Acton; Bartoe; Bridges; England; Fullerton; Henize; Musgrave. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-51-F. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.95 days. Decay Date: 1985-08-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 15925 . COSPAR: 1985-063A. Apogee: 337 km (209 mi). Perigee: 203 km (126 mi). Inclination: 49.5000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. Manned seven crew. At 5 minutes, 45 seconds into ascent the number one engine shut down prematurely due to a a sensor problem and an abort to orbit was declared. Despite the anomaly the mission continued. Launched PDP; carried Spacelab 2. Payloads: Spacelab-2 with 13 experiments, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), Protein Crystal Growth (PCG). The flight crew was divided into a red and blue team. Each team worked 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation.

1985 August 6 - .
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