Manned Flight n°: 105

Earth orbit Flight n°: 102

USA manned Flight n°: 48

Launch, orbit & landing data:

Designation 15665 / 85034A
Launch date - time 29 Apr 1985 - 16:02:18 UT
Launch site KSC, LC39A
Launch vehicle  Space Shuttle
Orbiter Challenger Ov-099 (#7)
Primary payload Nusat / Spacelab 3
Mass (kg) 
Call Sign 
Earth orbit on :
   - Perigee / Apogee  km
   - Inclination 57.0°
   - Period  min
Landing date - time 06 May 1985 - 16:11:04 UT
Landing location Edwards AFB, Runway 17
Flight Duration (d:hr:min) 7d 00h 08m
Nbr orbits 111

Spacelab 3 science mission

Flight Crew

Nr. Surname Given name Job Duration
1  Overmyer  Robert Franklin  CDR 7d 00h 08m 
2  Gregory  Frederick Drew  PLT 7d 00h 08m 
3  Lind  Don Leslie  MSP 7d 00h 08m 
4  Thagard  Norman Earl  MSP 7d 00h 08m 
5  Thornton  William Edgar  MSP 7d 00h 08m 
6  van den Berg  Lodewijk  PSP 7d 00h 08m 
7  Wang  Taylor Gun-Jin  PSP 7d 00h 08m 

Mission details:

Launch from Cape Canaveral (KSC); landing on Edwards AFB; second flight of Spacelab; all in all 15 experiments on five basic discipline areas: materials sciences, life sciences, fluid mechanics, atmospheric physics and astronomy; two monkeys and 24 rodents were observed for effects of weightlessness; deploying NuSat; deploying of GLOMR failed.

29 April 1985 16:04 GMT. Duration: 7.01 days. Call Sign: Challenger. LV Configuration: STS-24 (51-B). Program: STS. Payload: Challenger F07 / SL 3 MPESS. Mass: 14,245 kg. Perigee: 346 km. Apogee: 353 km. Inclination: 57.0 deg. Period: 91.5 min.
STS-51-B STS-51-B - Spacelab D-1 being installed in the Challenger payload bay - Credit: NASA.

Manned seven crew. Deployed Nusat; carried Spacelab 3. Payloads: Spacelab-3 experiments, habitable Spacelab and mission peculiar experiment support structure. The experiments represented a total of five different disciplines: materials processing in space, environmental observa-tions, life science, astrophysics, and technology experiments. Two getaway specials (GAS). The flight crew was split into gold and silver shifts working 12-hour days during the flight.

STS-51-B STS-51-B - Artist concept of Spacelab in orbiter cargo bay with horizon - Credit: NASA.

Orbits of Earth: 110. Distance traveled: 4,651,620 km. Orbiter Mass at Landing: 96,370 kg. Payload to Orbit: 14,245 kg. Payload Returned: 14,198 kg. Landed at: Runway 17 dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, . Landing Speed: 378 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 480 m. Landing Rollout: 2,535 m.
STS-51-B STS-51-B - Liftoff of shuttle Challenger and mission STS 51-B - Credit: NASA.

NASA Official Mission Narrative

Mission Name: 51-B (17)
Pad 39-A (29)
17th Shuttle mission
7th Flight OV-O99
3rd Rollback

Robert F. Overmyer (2), Commander
Frederick D. Gregory (1), Pilot
Don L. Lind (1), Mission Specialist 1
Norman E. Thagard (2), Mission Specialist 2
William E. Thornton (2), Mission Specialist 3
Lodewijk van den Berg (1), Payload Specialist 1
Taylor G. Wang (1), Payload Specialist 2

STS-51-B STS-51-B - Aurora over the Southern Hemisphere - Credit: NASA.

Flow A:
OPF - Oct. 13,1984
VAB - Feb. 10,1985
PAD - Feb. 15,1985
Flow B (rollback):
VAB - March 4,1985
OPF - March 7, 1985
VAB - April 10,1985
PAD - April 15, 1985

Mission Objectives:

STS-51-B STS-51-B - Astronaut Norman Thagard rests on middeck while other team is on duty - Credit: NASA.

April 29,1985,12:02:18 p.m. EDT. Flight first manifested as 51-E; rolled back from pad due to timing problem with TDRS-B payload. Mission 51-E cancelled; orbiter remanifested with 51-B payloads. Launch April 29 delayed two minutes,18 seconds due to a launch processing system failure. Launch Weight: 246,880 lbs.
Altitude: 222nm
Inclination: 57.0 degrees
Orbits: 111
Duration: Seven days zero hours, eight minutes, 46 seconds.
Distance: 2,890,383 miles

STS-51-B STS-51-B - Astronaut William Thornton observes monkey in the RAHF - Credit: NASA.

SRB: BI-016
SRM: L016(HPM)
ET : 17/LWT-10
MLP : 2
SSME-1: SN-2023
SSME-2: SN-2020
SSME-3: SN-2021

May 6, 1985,9:11:04 a.m. PDT, Runway 17, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Rollout distance: 8.317 feet. Rollout time: 59 seconds. First Crosswind Landing. Orbiter returned to KSC May 11,1985. Landing Weight: 212,465 lbs.

STS-51-B STS-51-B - Payload specialist Lodewijk van den Berg looks out aft flight deck window - Credit: NASA.

Mission Highlights:
Primary payload was Spacelab-3. First operational flight for Spacelab orbital laboratory series developed by European Space Agency. Five basic discipline areas: materials sciences, life sciences, fluid mechanics, atmospheric physics. and astronomy main mission objective with Spacelab-3 was to provide high quality microgravity environment for delicate materials processing and fluid experiments. Two monkeys and 24 rodents observed for effects of weightlessness. Of 15 Spacelab primary experiments conducted, 14 considered successful. Two Get Away Specials on board.
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