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Mission insignia
Mission statistics
Mission name STS-51-I
Space shuttle Discovery
Launch pad 39-A
Launch date August 27, 1985, 10:58:01 UTC
Landing September 3, 1985, 13:15:43 UTC
EAFB, Runway 23
Mission duration 7d/02:17:42
Number of orbits 112
Orbital altitude 448 km
Orbital inclination 28.45°
Distance traveled 4,698,602 km
Crew photo
STS-51-I crew.jpg
Back row L-R: van Hoften, Lounge, Fisher Front row L-R: Engle, Covey
Related missions
Previous mission Next mission
STS-51-F STS-51-F STS-51-J STS-51-J

STS-51-I was a Space Shuttle Discovery mission that deployed three communications satellites. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on August 27, 1985.



Position Astronaut
Commander Joseph H. Engle
Second spaceflight
Pilot Richard O. Covey
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 James D. A. van Hoften
Second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 John M. Lounge
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 William F. Fisher
First spaceflight

Mission parameters

  • Mass:
    • Orbiter Liftoff: 262,308 lb (118,981 kg)
    • Orbiter Landing: 196,670 lb (89,208 kg)
    • Payload: 43,987 lb (19,952 kg)
  • Perigee: 351 km
  • Apogee: 364 km
  • Inclination: 28.5°
  • Period: 91.7 min

Space walks

  • Fisher and van Hoften - EVA 1
  • EVA 1 Start: August 31, 1985
  • EVA 1 End: August 31, 1985
  • Duration: 7 hours, 20 minutes
  • Fisher and van Hoften - EVA 2
  • EVA 2 Start: September 1, 1985
  • EVA 2 End: September 1, 1985
  • Duration: 4 hours, 26 minutes

Mission highlights

The orbiter Discovery flew the 20th space shuttle mission starting with its launch at 6:58 a.m. EDT, August 27, 1985. Two earlier launch attempts, one on August 24 and another on August 25 were scrubbed — the first because of poor weather and the second because the backup orbiter computer failed and had to be replaced. The successful August 27 launch took place just as an approaching storm front reached the launch pad area.

The five-man STS 51-I crew included Joe H. Engle, commander; Richard O. Covey, pilot; and three mission specialists James van Hoften, John M. Lounge and William F. Fisher. Their primary mission was to deploy three commercial communications satellites and retrieve and repair SYNCOM IV-3 which was deployed during the STS 51-D mission in April 1985 and had malfunctioned. In addition, a middeck materials processing experiment was flown.

The three communications satellites included AUSSAT-l, a multi-purpose spacecraft owned by Australia; the ASC-l owned and operated by the American Satellite Co.; and SYNCOM IV-4 leased to the Department of Defense by its builder, the Hughes Co. Both AUSSAT-l and ASC-l were deployed on launch day, August 27. IV-4, was deployed two days later. All three achieved proper geosynchronous orbits and became operational.

On the fifth day of the mission, astronauts Fisher and van Hoften began repair efforts on the malfunctioning IV-3 following a successful rendezvous maneuver with Discovery. The effort was slowed because of a problem in the RMS elbow joint. In any event, after a second EVA by Fisher and van Hoften, the lever was repaired, permitting commands from the ground to activate the spacecraft's systems and eventually sending it into its proper geosynchronous orbit. The two EVAs took 11 hours and 27 minutes.

Discovery landed on Runway 23 at Edwards AFB at 6:16 a.m. PDT on September 3. The flight took 7 days, 2 hours, 18 minutes, 42 seconds, completing 111 orbits of the Earth.

The three communications satellites deployed were: ASC-1, for American Satellite Company; AUSSAT-1, an Australian Communications Satellite; and SYNCOM IV-4, the Synchronous Communications Satellite. ASC-1 and AUSSAT-1 both attached to Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) motors. SYNCOM IV-4 (also known as LEASAT-4) failed to function after reaching correct geosynchronous orbit. Fisher and van Hoften performed 11 hours, 27 minutes of space walk. Part of time spent retrieving, repairing and redeploying LEASAT-3, deployed on Mission 51-D. Middeck Payload: Physical Vapor Transport Organic Solid Experiment (PVTOS).


Wake-up calls

A tradition for NASA human spaceflights since the days of Gemini, mission crews are played a special musical track at the start of each day in space. Each track is specially chosen, often by their families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities. [1]

Flight Day Song Artist/Composer
Day 2
Waltzing Matilda[2]
Day 3
Over the Rainbow Judy Garland
Day 4
I Saw the Light Willie Nelson
Day 5
I Get Around Beach Boys
Day 6
Lucky Old Sun Willie Nelson
Day 7
Stormy Weather[3] Willie Nelson
Day 8
Living in the USA Linda Ronstadt

See also


  1. ^ Fries, Colin (June 25, 2007). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2007-08-13.  
  2. ^ chosen to waken the crew as they passed over Australia
  3. ^ chosen due to Hurricane Elena observed earlier from the Discovery

External links


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