Author Topic: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising  (Read 30680 times)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« on: 02/11/2012 10:07 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #1 on: 02/11/2012 10:11 PM »
‘Mission 51-J began with an upset wife. Management consultant Diane Bobko was particularly irritated as her husband prepared for his third trip into space. Unlike his previous missions, this one was classified and she knew that he was permitted to tell her very little about it.

“Bo,” she said, one morning in September 1985, “you’re not telling me exactly what day you’re going to land, but I think it’s going to be pretty close to a day I have a program in Baltimore.”

“Diane, it’s the first flight of a new vehicle,” her husband replied. “Probably the safest thing you can do is go ahead and schedule that right now.” ‘

(This excerpt was taken from Ben Evans’ article “Into the Black: NASA’s Secret Space Shuttle Missions”)

http://www.americaspace.org/?p=12793

Being a veteran of another orbiter’s maiden voyage, Challenger STS-6, which had experienced several delays due to engine trouble, 51-J Commander Karol Bobko perhaps was a little too pessimistic there. At that time expected to be the fourth and final ship to join the fleet, Atlantis would perform like a champ on her first relatively short four-day trip into space. She conducted a secret mission for the Department of Defense and established a shuttle high-altitude record of 278 nautical miles (515 kilometers). So Mrs. Bobko was able to welcome her husband back at Edwards Air Force Base.

Space writer Ben Evans tells the rest of the “upset wife”-story: ‘As it turned out, Diane Bobko was in California to meet her husband on the runway. Astonishingly, Atlantis had met with no significant delays, launched on time and landed on time. “So she was there to meet me in California,” Bobko remembered, “gave me a hug and then she had to leave right away to…drive down to Los Angeles to catch the airplane to go to Baltimore.” Later that evening, Bobko was startled out of his sleep by a telephone call. It was his wife. Surely, he thought, if a vehicle as complex as the Shuttle could launch and land on time, on its maiden voyage, then her domestic flight would have been trouble-free.

“You’re in Baltimore?” he asked.

“No,” she replied, glumly. “I’m still in Dallas, trying to get to Baltimore!” ‘

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #2 on: 02/11/2012 10:14 PM »
Air Force Major William Pailes was a member of the second Manned Spaceflight Engineers cadre and had been assigned to the 51-J crew in October 1984. His back-up for that mission was Air Force engineer Michael Booen, who had worked on the DSCS program before he was selected for this assignment. Pailes would become the second military payload specialist to gain a seat aboard a shuttle – and, after the Pentagon turned its back on the shuttle program as a consequence of the Challenger accident, he would also be the last MSE to fly into space. The MSE cadre was disbanded in the early 1990s. Only one additional military observer would be sent into space by the Pentagon – Thomas Hennen, an Army intelligence officer, flew on Atlantis mission STS-44 in November 1991.

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #3 on: 02/11/2012 10:15 PM »
One sad footnote on the Manned Spaceflight Engineers program: Air Force engineer Charles Jones, also a member of the second MSE cadre and in October 1984 selected as PS for STS 71-L (which would have deployed a DSP early warning satellite), many years later boarded a routine business flight from Boston to L.A. – it was American Airlines Flight 11, and the date was September 11, 2001…

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #4 on: 02/11/2012 10:19 PM »
« Last Edit: 02/11/2012 10:19 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #5 on: 02/11/2012 10:20 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #6 on: 02/11/2012 10:22 PM »
The nature of Atlantis’ “secret” payload wasn’t revealed officially, but it became an open secret soon after the mission had come to an end. The Pentagon didn’t discuss “discus”, but space journalists combined all available bits of information and concluded that Atlantis had deployed a pair of Defense Satellite Communications System DSCS-III satellites on a single IUS upper stage. DSCS “discus” satellites were an important element of the “jam-proof” communications links used by the U.S. military. Costing about $160 million they were built by General Electric. Each provided six high-frequency voice and data channels and had an expected design life of ten years. In July 1998 declassified pictures of the 51-J satellite deployment ended all speculations and proofed that the assumptions made by the press indeed were correct.

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #7 on: 02/11/2012 10:26 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #8 on: 02/11/2012 10:28 PM »
Construction of the fourth space bound shuttle orbiter, named Atlantis after a research vessel of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, commenced in March of 1980. Exactly five years later Atlantis was rising… ah, rolling out at Palmdale and was transported overland to Edwards Air Force Base. On April 13, 1985, she arrived at Kennedy Space Center atop the SCA Boeing 747. Atlantis was one day late due to unfavorable weather conditions at Ellington Field. This had been a special refueling stop, allowing Johnson Space Center employees and Houston residents a firsthand look at the newest member of the fleet.

Offline psloss

  • Veteran armchair spectator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16886
  • Liked: 980
  • Likes Given: 408
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #9 on: 02/11/2012 10:29 PM »
Air Force Major William Pailes was a member of the second Manned Spaceflight Engineers cadre and had been assigned to the 51-J crew in October 1984.
Is there an online source for this?  Or was this in a newspaper / periodical back then?

Edit: also, as has been noted here, Atlantis's rollout ceremony and overland transport were in April, 1985.
« Last Edit: 02/11/2012 10:31 PM by psloss »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #10 on: 02/11/2012 10:36 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #11 on: 02/11/2012 10:42 PM »
Air Force Major William Pailes was a member of the second Manned Spaceflight Engineers cadre and had been assigned to the 51-J crew in October 1984.
Is there an online source for this?  Or was this in a newspaper / periodical back then?



For details you can ask our very own Michael Cassutt - I took this piece of information from his "Who's Who in Space - The International Space Station Edition" (1999), page 216

Offline psloss

  • Veteran armchair spectator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16886
  • Liked: 980
  • Likes Given: 408
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #12 on: 02/11/2012 10:47 PM »
Air Force Major William Pailes was a member of the second Manned Spaceflight Engineers cadre and had been assigned to the 51-J crew in October 1984.
Is there an online source for this?  Or was this in a newspaper / periodical back then?



For details you can ask our very own Michael Cassutt - I took this piece of information from his "Who's Who in Space - The International Space Station Edition" (1999), page 216
I'll see if I can ping him; the 51-J crew was publicly announced in February, 1985, with just Bobko, Grabe, Stewart, and Hilmers (JSC News Release 85-009).  Pailes addition to the crew was in the papers only a couple of weeks before the launch.  (The crew patch suggests he was a late add.)
« Last Edit: 02/11/2012 10:48 PM by psloss »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #13 on: 02/11/2012 10:47 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #14 on: 02/11/2012 10:52 PM »

Edit: also, as has been noted here, Atlantis's rollout ceremony and overland transport were in April, 1985.


Palmdale, California, April 6, 1985  :)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #15 on: 02/11/2012 11:00 PM »

I'll see if I can ping him; the 51-J crew was publicly announced in February, 1985, with just Bobko, Grabe, Stewart, and Hilmers (JSC News Release 85-009).  Pailes addition to the crew was in the papers only a couple of weeks before the launch.  (The crew patch suggests he was a late add.)


That's correct, but I found the complete quote taken from the "Who's Who in Space" now, which explains everything:

"In October 1984 Pailes was assigned to the crew for Mission 51-J, though no public announcement was made until the following August."

And indeed Pailes was a late addition to the crew patch - which was a part of the secrecy policy at the time.

Offline psloss

  • Veteran armchair spectator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16886
  • Liked: 980
  • Likes Given: 408
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #16 on: 02/11/2012 11:04 PM »

I'll see if I can ping him; the 51-J crew was publicly announced in February, 1985, with just Bobko, Grabe, Stewart, and Hilmers (JSC News Release 85-009).  Pailes addition to the crew was in the papers only a couple of weeks before the launch.  (The crew patch suggests he was a late add.)


That's correct, but I found the complete quote taken from the "Who's Who in Space" now, which explains everything:

"In October 1984 Pailes was assigned to the crew for Mission 51-J, though no public announcement was made until the following August."

And indeed Pailes was a late addition to the crew patch - which was a part of the secrecy policy at the time.
Thanks for the details; makes sense, including the games with the patch.

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #17 on: 02/11/2012 11:05 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #18 on: 02/11/2012 11:09 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Atlantis STS 51-J / Atlantis Rising
« Reply #19 on: 02/11/2012 11:11 PM »

Tags: