Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-61-C



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STS-61-C
Piece of thermal insulation tile floats near the Shuttle Columbia
Credit: NASA
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STS-61-C
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
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STS-61-C
Representative Bill Nelson prepares to eat a peeled grapefruit
Credit: NASA
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STS-61-C
Astronaut Charles Bolden in pilots station prior to entry
Credit: NASA
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STS-61-C
Astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz checking payload bay through aft deck window
Credit: NASA
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STS-61-C
Four STS 61-C crewmembers gather at the commander's station
Credit: NASA
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STS-61-C
The SATCOM Ku-1 communications satellite deployed from Columbia
Credit: NASA
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STS-61-C
Night landing of Shuttle Columbia at Edwards AFB and end of STS 61-C mission
Credit: NASA
Crew: Bolden, Cenker, Chang-Diaz, Gibson, Hawley, Nelson, Nelson Bill. Manned seven crew. Launched Satcom K1. Second politician in space; he bumped Jarvis to later launch on which he was killed. Launch scrub saved crew from death due to undetected jammed SSME valve. Experienced nozzle joint O-ring erosion.

Manned seven crew. Launched Satcom K1. Payloads: Deploy SATCOM (RCA-Satellite Communi-cations) Ku-1 with Payload Assist Module (PAM)-D II. Materials Science Laboratory, Comet Halley Active Monitoring Experiment (CHAMP), Hitchhiker (HH) Goddard (G)-1, thirteen getaway specials (GAS), student experiment, Initial Blood Storage Equipment (lBSE), Characterization of Space Motion Sickness (SMS).

Orbits of Earth: 97. Distance traveled: 4,069,480 km. Orbiter Liftoff Mass: 116,121 kg. Orbiter Mass at Landing: 95,325 kg. Payload to Orbit: 14,724 kg. Payload Returned: 9,122 kg. Landed at: Concrete runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, Cali. Landing Speed: 402 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 464 m. Landing Rollout: 3,109 m.

NASA Official Mission Narrative

Mission Name: 61-C (24)
COLUMBIA (7)
Pad 39-A (36)
24th Shuttle mission
7th Flight OV-102
RSLS Abort (3)
Extended mission
Diverted landing
2nd Night landing

Crew:
Robert L. Gibson (2), Commander
Charles F. Bolden (1), Jr., Pilot
Franklin R. Chang-Diaz (1), Mission Specialist 1
Steven A. Hawley (2), Mission Specialist 1
George D. Nelson (2), Mission Specialist 2
Robert J. Cenker (1), Payload Specialist 1
Congressman Bill Nelson (1), Payload Specialist 2

Milestones:
OPF - July 18, 1985
VAB - Sept.6, 1985
(storage)
OPF - Sept. 26, 1985
VAB - Nov. 22, 1985
PAD - Dec. 2, 1985

Payload:
SATCOM-KU2,LEASAT-5,MSL-2,CHAMP,IR-IE,SSIP(x3),GAS(x13)
Mission Objectives:

Launch:
January 12, 1986, 6:55:00 a.m. EST. Launch set for Dec. 18, 1985 delayed one day when additional time needed to close out orbiter aft compartment. Launch attempt Dec. 19 scrubbed at T- 14 seconds due to indication that right solid rocket booster hydraulic power unit exceeding RPM redline speed limits. (Later determined as false reading.) After 18-day delay, launch attempt Jan. 6, 1986 halted at T-31 seconds due to accidental draining of approximately 4,000 pounds of liquid oxygen from external tank. Launch attempt Jan. 7 scrubbed at T-9 minutes due to bad weather at both transoceanic abort landing sites (Moron, Spain and Dakar, Senegal). After two-day delay, launch set for Jan. 9 delayed due to launch pad liquid oxygen sensor breaking off and lodging in number two main engine prevalve. Launch set for Jan. 10 delayed two days due to heavy rains. Launch countdown Jan. 12 proceeded with no delays. Launch Weight: 256,003 lbs.
Orbit:
Altitude: 212nm
Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Orbits: 98
Duration: Six days, two hours, three minutes, 51 seconds.
Distance: 2,528,658 miles

Hardware:
SRB: BI-024
SRM: L024(HPM)
ET : 30/LWT-23
MLP : 1
SSME-1: SN-2015
SSME-2: SN-2018
SSME-3: SN-2109

Landing:
January 18,1986, 5:58:51 a.m, PST, Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Rollout distance: 10,202 feet. Rollout time: 59 seconds. Planned landing at KSC, originally scheduled for Jan. 17, moved to Jan. 16 to save orbiter turnaround time. Landing attempts on Jan. 16 and 17 abandoned due to unacceptable weather at KSC. Landing set for Jan. 18 at KSC but persisting bad weather forced a one revolution extension of mission and landing at Edwards. Orbiter returned to KSC Jan. 23, 1986. Landing Weight: 210,161 lbs.

Mission Highlights:
SATCOM KU-I (RCA Americom) satellite, attached to Payload Assist Module-D2 (PAM-D2) motor, was deployed. Comet Halley Active Monitoring Program (CHAMP) experiment, a 35mm camera to photograph Comet Halley, did not function properly due to battery problems. Other payloads: Materials Science Laboratory-2 (MSL-2); Hitchhiker G-1; Infrared Imaging Experiment (IR-IE); Initial Blood Storage Experiment (IBSE); Hand-held Protein Crystal Growth (HPCG) experiment; three Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments and 13 Get Away Specials (GAS), 12 of them mounted on a special GAS Bridge Assembly.

AKA: Columbia.
First Launch: 1986.01.12.
Last Launch: 1986.01.18.
Duration: 6.09 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Nelson, Bill Nelson, Clarens William Jr 'Bill' (1942-) American congressman payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-61-C. More...
  • Bolden Bolden, Charles Frank Jr 'Charlie' (1946-) African-American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-61-C, STS-31, STS-45, STS-60. More...
  • Gibson Gibson, Robert Lee 'Hoot' (1946-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-41-B, STS-61-C, STS-27, STS-47, STS-71. Flew combat missions over Vietnam. Was married to astronaut Rhea Seddon. More...
  • Cenker Cenker, Robert Joseph Jr (1948-) American engineer payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-61-C. More...
  • Chang-Diaz Chang-Diaz, Dr Franklin Ramon (1950-) Costa Rican-American physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-61-C, STS-34, STS-46, STS-60, STS-75, STS-91, STS-111. Held record of seven spaceflights. More...
  • Nelson Nelson, Dr George Driver 'Pinky' (1950-) American astronomer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-41-C, STS-61-C, STS-26. More...
  • Hawley Hawley, Dr Steven Alan (1951-) American astronomer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-41-D, STS-61-C, STS-31, STS-82, STS-93. Was married to astronaut Sally Ride. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Columbia American manned spaceplane. 28 launches, 1981.04.12 (STS-1) to 2003.01.16 (STS-107). Columbia, the first orbiter in the Shuttle fleet, was named after the sloop that accomplished the first American circumnavigation of the globe. 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...

Bibliography
  • Mullane, Mike, Riding Rockets, Scribner, New York, 2006.

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-61-C Chronology


1986 January 12 - . 11:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-32/61-C.
  • STS-61-C - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Bolden; Cenker; Chang-Diaz; Gibson; Hawley; Nelson; Nelson, Bill. Payload: Columbia F07 Satcom-K 1 [PAM-D2]. Mass: 14,724 kg (32,460 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bolden; Cenker; Chang-Diaz; Gibson; Hawley; Nelson; Nelson, Bill. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-61-C. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 6.09 days. Decay Date: 1986-01-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 16481 . COSPAR: 1986-003A. Apogee: 338 km (210 mi). Perigee: 331 km (205 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 91.20 min. Manned seven crew. Launched Satcom K1. Payloads: Deploy SATCOM (RCA-Satellite Communi-cations) Ku-1 with Payload Assist Module (PAM)-D II. Materials Science Laboratory, Comet Halley Active Monitoring Experiment (CHAMP), Hitchhiker (HH) Goddard (G)-1, thirteen getaway specials (GAS), student experiment, Initial Blood Storage Equipment (lBSE), Characterization of Space Motion Sickness (SMS).

1986 January 18 - .
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