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NamesSpace Transportation System
Mission typeCommunications satellites deployment (planned)
Mission duration7 days, 7 hours, 51 minutes, 51 seconds (planned)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Columbia (planned)
Launch mass1,217,990 kg (2,685,210 lb)
Landing mass90,584 kg (199,704 lb)
Payload mass21,937 kg (48,363 lb)
Crew size7 (planned)
MembersMichael L. Coats
John E. Blaha
Robert C. Springer
Anna L. Fisher
James F. Buchli
Pratiwi Sudarmono
Nigel R. Wood
Start of mission
Launch date24 June 1986, 13:09:00 UTC (planned)
RocketSpace Shuttle Columbia
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39B
ContractorRockwell International
End of mission
Landing date1 July 1986, 21:00:51 UTC (planned)
Landing siteKennedy Space Center,
Runway 15
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit (planned)
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude285 km (177 mi)
Apogee altitude295 km (183 mi)
Period90.40 minutes

Space Shuttle patch

Back row: Anna L. Fisher, Robert C. Springer, James F. Buchli
Front row: John E. Blaha and Michael L. Coats
← STS-51-L (25)

STS-61-H was a NASA Space Shuttle mission planned to launch on 24 June 1986 using Columbia. However, it was canceled after the Challenger disaster.


Position Astronaut
Commander United States Michael L. Coats
Would have been second spaceflight
Pilot United States John E. Blaha
Would have been first spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 United States Robert C. Springer
Would have been first spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 United States Anna L. Fisher
Would have been second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 United States James F. Buchli
Would have been third spaceflight
Payload Specialist 1 Indonesia Pratiwi Sudarmono
Would have been first spaceflight
Payload Specialist 2 United Kingdom Nigel R. Wood
Would have been first spaceflight

Backup crew[edit]

Position Astronaut
Payload Specialist 1 Indonesia Taufik Akbar
Would have been first spaceflight
Payload Specialist 2 United Kingdom Richard A. Farrimond
Would have been first spaceflight

Crew notes[edit]

Before Buchli was assigned to STS-61-H, Norman E. Thagard was the potential Mission Specialist 3 for this flight.

Mission objectives[edit]

The main task of the mission was to bring two commercial satellites into orbit – Palapa B3 and Westar-6S, and military communication satellite - Skynet-4A, The British Skynet and the Indonesian Palapa were supposed to be accompanied by an astronaut from the two countries.

After the Challenger disaster, the deployment of commercial satellites by the Space Shuttle was stopped, and for several years no international astronauts were nominated. Thus, neither the British nor the Indonesian payload specialists got a second chance for a spaceflight. The NASA crew however stayed together and participated in a 56-hour-long simulated mission known as STS-61-M(T) in 1987. The crew finally flew on STS-29, with Anna L. Fisher being replaced by James P. Bagian.

Skynet 4A was launched on 1 January 1990 with a Titan III, Westar-6S was renamed Galaxy-6 and launched on 12 October 1992 by an Ariane 44L. Palapa-B3 was renamed to Palapa B2P and was launched on 20 March 1987 with a Delta-3920.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]