The challenge and the responsibility

Preparing for a space flight can be a challenge, especially your first, and after a fifteen year wait, one could imagine a sense of anticipation, excitement and thrill to know you were finally going to make the ride into space. Lenoir never found the preparation daunting, although the added assignments of deploying the first satellites from the Shuttle and participating in the first EVA of the programme (and the first US EVA since Skylab 4 eight years before) were perhaps the most challenging aspects of the preparation. No one had actually deployed a satellite payload from the Shuttle before, so Allen and Lenoir worked with the engineering department in developing the procedures they would use on orbit. As there was no Tracking and Data Relay Satellite network in place, air-to-ground communications were only available for about twenty-five per cent of the time. The other seventy-five per cent of their on-orbit time would be spent in radio blackout, which placed a lot of responsibility on the crew since it was during this air-to-ground down-time that both satellite deployments would take place.

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