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STS-51-A

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Mission Insignia

Missing image
51-a-patch.jpg


Mission Statistics
Mission:STS-51-A
Shuttle:Discovery
Launch Pad:39-A
Launch: November 8, 1984,7:15:00 a.m. EST
Landing:November 16, 1984 6:59:56 a.m. EST, Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Duration:7 days, 23 hours, 44 minutes, 56 seconds
Orbit Altitude:185
Orbit Inclination:28.5 Degrees
Miles Traveled:3,289,406
Crew photo
L-R: Gardner, Walker, Fisher, Hauck, Allen
Enlarge
L-R: Gardner, Walker, Fisher, Hauck, Allen

STS 51-A was the fourteenth flight of a Space Shuttle and the second flight of Discovery. It conducted the third landing at Kennedy Space Center.

Contents

Crew

Mission Parameters

Space walks

  • Allen and Gardner - EVA 1
  • EVA 1 Start: November 12, 1984 - 13:25 UTC
  • EVA 1 End: November 12, - 19:25 UTC
  • Duration: 6 hours, 00 minutes
  • Allen and Gardner - EVA 2
  • EVA 2 Start: November 14, 1984 - 11:09 UTC
  • EVA 2 End: November 14, 1984 - 16:51 UTC
  • Duration: 5 hours, 42 minutes

Mission Highlights

Less than a month after the 41-G flight, the 14th Space Shuttle mission and the second for Discovery, STS 51-A was launched at 7:15 a.m. EST, Nov. 8, 1984. A launch attempt the day before was scrubbed at the T minus 20-minute built-in hold because of high shear winds in the upper atmosphere.

The five-person flight crew consisted of Frederick H. Hauck, commander, on his second flight; pilot David M. Walker; and three mission specialists -- Anna L. Fisher, Dale A. Gardner and Joseph P. Allen. Both Gardner and Allen were making their second Shuttle flights.

This mission was unique in that it marked the first time the Shuttle had deployed two communications satellites and then went about retrieving from orbit two other communications satellites. B-2 and 6 had been deployed during the STS 41-B mission earlier in the year and had been placed into improper orbits because their kick motors malfunctioned.

The two communications satellites successfully deployed were the Canadian Anik D2 -- on the second day of the mission -- and IV-l, also known as Leasat l, on the third day.

The orbiter then began a series of maneuvers to meet up with the first of the two satellites to be recovered, PALAPA B-2. (The orbits of both satellites had been lowered by ground commands from about 600 mile to 210 mile to facilitate recovery operations.) On day five, the Discovery rendezvoused with PALAPA. Mission specialists Allen and Gardner performed an EVA, capturing the satellite with a device known as a "Stinger," which was inserted into the apogee motor nozzle by Allen. The satellite's rotation was slowed to 1 RPM and Fisher, operating from a position on the end of the RMS, attempted unsuccessfully to grapple the satellite. Allen was able manually to maneuver the satellite into its cradle with Gardner's help and aided by the RMS which was operated by Fisher. The successful, improvised rescue effort took two hours.

The recovery of Westar 6 was not as difficult and took place a day later. This time Gardner, using the same muscle power technique Allen had used for the rescue, captured the satellite. With Allen's help, he placed it in a cradle in the cargo bay.

The STS 51-A mission also carried the Diffused Mixing of Organic Solutions (DMOS) experiment. It was the first of a series of comprehensive organic and polymer science experiments sponsored by the 3M Corp. This middeck experiment was successful and the proprietary results of the chemical mixes were turned over to 3M. One other experiment, the radiation monitoring experiment, was also performed.

This second Discovery mission ended at 7 a.m. EST, Nov. 16, with landing on Runway 33, at KSC, after a 7-day, 23-hour, 45-minute flight, which covered 3.3 million miles during 126 complete orbits. It was the third Shuttle landing at KSC and the fifth and last Shuttle mission of 1984.

Related articles


External links

Previous Mission:
STS-41-G
Space Shuttle program Next Mission:
STS-51-C

de:STS-51-A

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