Not Space Politics: a Politician in Space

Twenty-five years ago today — April 12, 1985 — Space Shuttle Discovery, which is in space right now, lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on mission STS-51D.

(STS-51D launch. NASA image.)

The Discovery crew consisted of astronauts Karol J. Bobko, Don E. Williams, Margaret Rhea Seddon, S. David Griggs, Jeffrey A. Hoffman, and Charles D. Walker, plus astronaut/Senator E. “Jake” Garn. Senator Garn was the first active member of Congress to fly into space, but he was uniquely qualified to do so, having been a Naval aviator and then a pilot in the Air Force Reserve.

They deployed two satellites, Telesat-1 (also known as Anik-C1) and Syncom-IV (also known as LEASAT-3), though the latter did not spin up properly and its boost motor failed to ignite. It was recovered and repaired on a later shuttle mission.

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