A bonerattling liftoff

One of the new assignments for the 51-A crew was to work with the insurance industry, which was becoming more involved in the space business. Allen found it amusing to hear from an English insurance representative who, throughout his

Joe Allen and Dale 51-A mission.

professional life, had insured things against fire or the chances of explosion. Now he was working with astronauts in the space business, who "purposely set fire to a massive amount of explosives [at launch].'' He was incredulous to find that he was now betting on whether the launch "explosions" could be controlled enough to rescue the satellites and complete the mission. Allen thought that this was a graphic way of explaining what could not be controlled during the fatal Challenger launch just over a year later. He also recalled the bone-rattling lift-off during his first launch, " ... the rockets' push accelerating us beyond the edge of the Earth, the sudden silence of these same engines as they shut down, and then the eerie quiet of coasting in unending orbit about our beautiful planet.''41

After the two satellites had been deployed without problems and several in-flight

Gardner each flew the MMU to capture two rogue satellites during the STS

Gardner each flew the MMU to capture two rogue satellites during the STS

experiments were completed, the day of the first EVA arrived. Allen, with the frustration of the cancelled STS-5 EVA behind him, was eager to get on with the task. It was unlikely that STS 51-A would have had an EVA on the flight had it not been for the rogue satellite retrieval task, so for Allen it was a dream realised.

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