Mission typeSatellite deployment
Mission duration7 days, 7 hours, 51 minutes, 51 seconds
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Columbia
Crew size7
MembersMichael L. Coats
John 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 (1986-06-24UTC13:09Z) UTC
Launch siteKennedy LC-39B
End of mission
Landing date1 July 1986, 21:00:51 (1986-07-01UTC21:00:52Z) UTC
Landing siteKennedy Runway 15
Orbital parameters
Inclination28.5 degrees
Shuttle Patch.png STS-61-H crew.jpg 

STS-61-H was a United States Space Shuttle mission planned to launch on 24 June 1986 using Columbia. However, it was cancelled 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

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

Crew notes

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

Mission objectives

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 Fisher being replaced by James 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

External links