Twenty-five years ago today — June 17, 1985 — the Space Shuttle Discovery launched from the Kennedy Space Center on mission STS-51G. U.S. astronauts Daniel C. Brandenstein, John O. Creighton, Shannon W. Lucid, John M. Fabian, and Steven R. Nagel were joined by French astronaut Patrick Baudry and the first Arab astronaut, Sultan Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia.
(The SPARTAN-1 science package in the cargo bay during mission STS-51G. NASA image.)
The STS-51G crew’s “triple play” involved launching three separate communications satellites during this one mission. They deployed the Mexican satellite Morelos-A on the 17th, the aptly-named Arabsat-IB satellite on the 18th, and finally Telstar-3D on the 19th.
The crew also released the SPARTAN-1 (Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy) on the 20th. Its X-ray instruments made observations of the center of the Milky Way, as well as of the Perseus cluster of galaxies. The crew retrieved SPARTAN-1 from orbit on the 24th, just prior to their return to Earth.by