NamesSpace Transportation System
Mission typeObservations of the Comet of Halley
Mission duration8 days, 22 hours, 2 minutes (planned)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Columbia (planned)
Launch mass1,217,990 kg (2,685,210 lb)
Landing mass90,584 kg (199,704 lb)
Payload mass21,937 kg (48,363 lb)
Crew size7
MembersJon A. McBride
Richard N. Richards
Jeffrey A. Hoffman
David C. Leestma
Robert A. Parker
Samuel T. Durrance
Ronald A. Parise
Start of mission
Launch date6 March 1986, 10:45 UTC (planned)
RocketSpace Shuttle Columbia
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39B
ContractorRockwell International
End of mission
Landing date15 March 1986, 08:47 UTC (plannned)
Landing siteKennedy Space Center
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit (planned)
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude285 km (177 mi)
Apogee altitude295 km (183 mi)
Period90.40 minutes

STS-61-E mission patch

Back row: Samuel T. Durrance, Robert A. Parker, Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Ronald A. Parise
Front row: Richard N. Richards, Jon A. McBride, David C. Leestma
← STS-51-L (25)

STS-61-E was a NASA Space Shuttle mission planned to launch on 6 March 1986 using Columbia. It was canceled after the Challenger disaster.


Position Astronaut
Commander Jon A. McBride
Would have been second spaceflight
Pilot Richard N. Richards
Would have been first spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Jeffrey A. Hoffman
Would have been second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 David C. Leestma
Would have been second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 Robert A. Parker
Would have been second spaceflight
Payload Specialist 1 Samuel T. Durrance
Would have been first spaceflight
Payload Specialist 2 Ronald A. Parise
Would have been first spaceflight

Mission objectives

Columbia was to carry the ASTRO-1 observatory, which would be used to make astronomical observations including observations of Halley's Comet. ASTRO-1 consisted of three ultraviolet telescopes mounted on two Spacelab pallets, controlled by the Instrument Pointing System (IPS) which was first tested on STS-51-F.[1]

After the Challenger disaster, the flight was remanifested as STS-35 and several crew members were replaced. Both Richards and Leestma were reassigned to STS-28 while McBride left NASA in 1989. Vance D. Brand replaced McBride as the commander while Guy S. Gardner and John M. Lounge replaced Richards and Leestma, respectively.

See also


  1. ^ Evans, Ben (2005). Space Shuttle Columbia: Her Missions and Crews. Springer Science + Business Media. p. 99. ISBN 0-387-21517-4.