STS-61A Fact Sheet

By Cliff Lethbridge

STS-61A — Challenger

22nd Space Shuttle Mission

9th Flight of Challenger


Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., Commander

Steven R. Nagel, Pilot

James F. Buchli, Mission Specialist

Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Mission Specialist

Bonnie J. Dunbar, Mission Specialist

Reinhard Furrer, Payload Specialist

Ernst Messerschmid, Payload Specialist

Wubbo J. Ockels, Payload Specialist

Orbiter Preparations:

Tow to Orbiter Processing Facility – August 12, 1985

Rollover to Vehicle Assembly Building – October 12, 1985

Rollout to Launch Pad 39A – October 16, 1985


October 30, 1985 – 12:00:00 noon EST. Launch occurred as scheduled with no delays.


November 6, 1985 – 9:44:53 a.m. PST at Runway 17, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance was 8,304 feet. Rollout time was 45 seconds. Mission duration was 7 days, 0 hours, 44 minutes, 53 seconds. Landing occurred during the 112th orbit.

Mission Summary:

The mission was dedicated to the (West) German Spacelab D-1 laboratory, which included 75 numbered experiments. Experiments centered around basic and applied microgravity research in materials science, life science and technology, communications and navigation.

Certain flight operations related to Spacelab D-1 were controlled directly from the German Space Operations Center at Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich. Other payloads included the Global Low Orbiting Message Relay (GLOMR) which was a satellite deployed from a GAS canister.