STS-51C Fact Sheet
By Cliff Lethbridge
STS-51C — Discovery
15th Space Shuttle Mission
3rd Flight of Discovery
Note: STS-51C was originally planned for Challenger. However, problems with Challenger’s thermal tiles forced a switch to Discovery.
Thomas K. Mattingly II, Commander
Loren J. Shriver, Pilot
James F. Buchli, Mission Specialist
Ellison S. Onizuka, Mission Specialist
Gary E. Payton, Payload Specialist
Tow to Orbiter Processing Facility – November 16, 1984
Rollover to Vehicle Assembly Building – December 21, 1984
Rollout to Launch Pad 39A – January 5, 1985
January 24, 1985 – 2:50:00 p.m. EST. Launch attempt on January 23, 1985 was scrubbed due to cold weather. January 24 launch time was not made public until T-9 minutes and counting.
January 27, 1985 – 4:23:23 p.m. EST at Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center. Rollout distance was 7,352 feet. Rollout time was 50 seconds. Mission duration was 3 days, 1 hour, 33 minutes, 23 seconds. Landing occurred during the 49th orbit.
This was the first dedicated Department of Defense mission. Elements of the mission were kept secret. However, it was reported that a U.S. Air Force Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster successfully deployed a secret payload.
SELECTED NASA PHOTOS FROM STS-51C