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Mission or Study ID:   STS-51C
Shuttle Program
Launch/Start Date:
Landing/End Date:
3 days
STS-51C Crew Patch

On January 24, 1985, STS-51C was launched into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery to conduct the first mission totally dedicated to the Department of Defense. STS-51C was originally scheduled for launch on January 23, but was delayed because of freezing weather conditions. The Space Shuttle Challenger had been scheduled for this flight, but Discovery was substituted when thermal tile problems were encountered with Challenger. STS-51C crewmembers were Commander Thomas K. Mattingly II, Pilot Loren J. Shriver, and Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, James F. Buchli, and Gary E. Payton

Because STS-51C was a classified Department of Defense mission, no information about the primary payloads has been released. According to an Air Force announcement, the classified payload was deployed successfully and boosted into operational orbit by an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster.

Life Sciences experiments on this mission included multiple Detailed Supplementary Objectives (DSOs). A DSO is a NASA-sponsored investigation performed by Space Shuttle crewmembers, who serve as the test subjects. These studies required minimal crew time, power and stowage. Biomedical DSOs focus on operational concerns, including space motion sickness, cardiovascular deconditioning, muscle loss, changes in coordination and balance strategies, radiation exposure, pharmacokinetics and changes in the body's biochemistry.

The Shuttle Discovery touched down at Kennedy Space Center on January 27, 1985. The total duration of the mission was three days, one hour, and thirty-three minutes.

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