Sts 51a We Deliver And Pick Up Twice

Ten months after flying on STS-5, Joe Allen was formally assigned to a new crew with the announcement, on 2 September 1983, of the STS-16 crew members. As MS 1, Allen would be flying with another four astronauts, all from the 1978 group. In command was Rick Hauck (previously the pilot on STS-7), the pilot would be Dave Walker, MS 2 was Anna Fisher and MS 3 was Dale Gardner (who was still flying on STS-8 at the time of the announcement). The military payload specialists for this classified Department of Defense (DoD) mission were still to be announced. A week later (9 September), NASA announced a new Shuttle designation code for upcoming missions, based on a three digit numbering system, with the STS-16 flight being renamed as STS 41-H. Twelve days later, on 21 September, the crew were moved to STS 41-G (now manifested to deploy commercial satellites for Telstar, SBS, and Hughes Aerospace, as well as the astronomy science package free-flyer called Spartan). On 17 November 1983, the crew were again reassigned, from STS 41-G back to 41-H, this time manifested to carry either a DoD payload or TDRS-B. During 1984, the crew worked together as a unit without knowing for sure which payload they would be carrying. Then, following payload changes and slips in the launch schedule of 1984, and as a result of the 26 June 1984 pad abort of STS-12, the crew became part of a major reorganisation resulting in their fourth change, to 51-A, manifested to deploy the Telsat H and Syncom IV-1 Comsats. On top of all this, events from an earlier mission led to additional objectives being included on the flight.

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