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STS-51-F (Spacelab 2) was the eighth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger, and the nineteenth shuttle flight.

While the primary payload was Spacelab-2, the payload with most publicity was the Carbonated Beverage Dispenser Evaluation, which was an experiment where both Coca-Cola and Pepsi tried to make their drinks available to astronauts.



Backup crew

Mission parameters

  • Mass:
    • Orbiter Liftoff: 252,855 pounds (114,693 kg)
    • Orbiter Landing: 216,735 pounds (98,309 kg)
    • Payload: 35,955 pounds (16,309 kg)
  • Perigee: 193.9 miles (312.1 km)
  • Apogee: 199.5 miles (321.1 km)
  • Inclination: 49.5°
  • Period: 90.9 min

Mission highlights

Primary payload was Spacelab-2. Despite an abort to orbit, which required mission replanning, the mission was declared a success. A special part of the modular Spacelab system, the igloo, located at head of a three-pallet train, provided on-site support to instruments mounted on pallets. The main mission objective was to verify performance of Spacelab systems, determine the interface capability of the orbiter, and measure the environment created by the spacecraft. Experiments covered life sciences, plasma physics, astronomy, high-energy astrophysics, solar physics, atmospheric physics and technology research.

The flight marked the first time the ESA Instrument Pointing System (IPS) was tested in orbit. This unique pointing instrument was designed with an accuracy of one arcsecond. Initially, some problems were experienced when it was commanded to track the Sun, but a series of software fixes were made and the problem was corrected.

In addition, Tony England became the second amateur radio operator to transmit from space during the mission.

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