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This mission, one of the continuing STS series, carried a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-B) to be launched from the cargo bay, and the experiment Spartan Halley. The spacecraft exploded January 28, 1986, at high altitude over the Atlantic Ocean during the launch phase, and all crew members were lost. Because the spacecraft did not reach orbit, no International ID was assigned. After this mission, further STS flights were postponed until investigation and remedial actions could be completed. The next STS flight was STS 26 on Sept. 29, 1988, which also reverted to the sequential series numbering used originally, rather than the numbering scheme that used planned launch year and serial letter. Within this series, STS 25 would correspond to the failed Challenger mission.

Alternate Names

    Facts in Brief

    Launch Date: 1986-01-28
    Launch Vehicle: Shuttle
    Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

    Funding Agencies

    • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)
    • NASA-Office of Space Flight (United States)


    • Engineering
    • Human Crew
    • Astronomy

    Additional Information

    Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office


    Related Information/Data at NSSDCA


    Other Sources of STS 51L Information/Data

    STS 51L documents (NASA History Office, NASA HQ)
    STS 51L information (NASA KSC)
    STS 51L Press Release images (NASA JSC)

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