STS -51- J (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis ( OV- 104), NASA. The launch took place on 3 October 1985. It was the 21st Space Shuttle mission and the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.


Home team

  • Karol Bobko ( third space flight), Commander
  • Ronald Grabe ( first space flight), Pilot
  • David Hilmer ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Robert Stewart ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • William Pailes ( first space flight), Payload Specialist, United States Air Force


  • Michael Boön for Pailes

Pailes and Boön did not belong to NASA, but were of the U.S. Air Force as a military payload specialists as Manned Space Flight Engineers (about: Space flight engineers ) were selected for this flight.

Mission overview

The launch took place with a delay of 22 minutes and 30 seconds because of a faulty ad to a valve controller in the field of main engines. The first flight of the space shuttle Atlantis was also the second shuttle flight for the U.S. Department of Defense. The object of the mission was the exposure of two military DSCS III communications satellite. These were placed in a geostationary orbit by means of an IUS rocket stage.

The landing took place on schedule at Edwards AFB in California. The Atlantis was transported back four days later with a converted Boeing 747 to Cape Canaveral, Florida.