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Occurred 40 years ago

First flight of Space Shuttle Discovery. The primary payloads for the mission were three commercial communications satellites — SBS-4 for Small Business Systems, Telstar 3C for Telesat of Canada, and Syncom IV-2, also known as Leasat 2, for the U.S. Navy.

Space Shuttle


mission duration

6 days, 0 hours, 56 minutes, 4 seconds


August 30, 1984


September 5, 1984
Six crew members pose in blue jumpsuits with model ship and US flag
NASA’s Discovery carried these six STS-51D crew members into space on an early summer mission. Astronaut Henry W. Hartsfield Jr. (second right, front row) was crew commander; and Michael L. Coats, right, was pilot. Astronauts Richard M. (Mike) Mullane, left; Steven A. Hawley (second left) and Judith A. Resnik were mission specialists. Charles D. Walker (back row) was payload specialist. Both the early ocean-going Discovery and the debuting spacecraft are depicted in the backdrop. The conspicuous payload in the cargo bay of the spacecraft is that of NASA’s Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST-1). (April 1984)

STS-41D Mission Facts

Mission: SBS-D; Satellite Business System SYNCOM IV-2; Solar Wing TELSTAR
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 263,477 pounds
Launched: August 30, 1984 at 8:41:50 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: September 5, 1984 at 6:37:54 a.m. PDT
Landing Weight: 201,674 pounds
Runway: 17
Rollout Distance: 10,275 feet
Rollout Time: 60 seconds
Revolution: 97
Mission Duration: 6 days, 0 hours, 56 minutes, 4 seconds
Returned to KSC: September 10, 1984
Orbit Altitude: 184 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 2.5 million


Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., Commander

Michael L. Coats, Pilot

Judith A. Resnik, Mission Specialist

Richard M. Mullane, Mission Specialist

Steven A. Hawley, Mission Specialist

Charles D. Walker, Payload Specialist

Mission Highlights

Three satellites deployed during this mission: Satellite Business System SBS-D, SYNCOM IV-2 (also known as LEASAT2) and TELSTAR. The 102-foot-tall, 13-foot-wide Office of Application and Space Technology (OAST-1) solar wing extended from the payload bay. The wing carried different types of solar cells and extended to its full height several times. It demonstrated large lightweight solar arrays for a future in building large facilities in space such as a space station. Other payloads included were: Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) Ill; Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME); Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiment; lMAX camera, being flown for a second time; and an Air Force experiment, Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS).

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