STS -51 -F (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger ( OV -99) NASA. The launch took place on 29 July 1985. It was the 19th Space Shuttle mission and the eighth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger.


Home team

  • Gordon Fullerton ( second space flight), Commander
  • Roy Bridges ( first space flight), Pilot
  • Story Musgrave ( 2nd space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Anthony England ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Karl Henize ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Loren Acton ( first space flight), Payload Specialist, Space Sciences Laboratory
  • John - David Bartoe ( first space flight ), Payload Specialist, Naval Research Laboratory


  • Dianne Prince and George Simon for Acton and Bartoe

Mission overview

The first launch attempt on 12 July 1985, it was canceled three seconds to take off, because a cooling valve in the engine 2 of the Space Shuttle did not work. The already operating and main engines were shut down. The launch on 29 July was delayed due to a problem with the data communication by 97 minutes. After a flight time of five minutes and 45 seconds, the mean main engine of the space shuttle turned off due to the failure of two temperature sensors. 8 minutes after the start was for problems with two additional sensors and the right main engine shut down soon, which would have forced the cancellation of the mission. This was prevented by the rapid intervention of the ground control, which temporarily disabled the automatic engine shutdown. Due to the engine failure, the planned altitude could not be reached. However, the spacecraft was in a stable orbit. This incident was the only "Abort to orbit" of the shuttle program and the only failure of a main engine during the flight.

The mission line developed as a result a new flight plan, which provided for 17 additional orbits. Despite the difficulties in getting all planned objectives were achieved. These were experiments in various fields of natural science, which were carried out in the built space laboratory Spacelab the European Space Agency ( ESA).

The landing was planned in Edwards AFB in California. The Challenger was five days later transported back to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft to Cape Canaveral, Florida.