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STS-61-F and 61-G: Shuttle-Centaur | by alertfive
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STS-61-F and 61-G: Shuttle-Centaur

A scene that never was. Marine Col. (ret.) Dave Hilmers was named to the crew of Mission 61F, one of the so-called "Death Star" missions because it was to have carried a liquid-fueled upper stage in its payload bay. The use of a Centaur upper stage was canceled after the Challenger accident. Presumably because he was in training for 61F at the time, and not wanting to break up the 61E crew (which was a Spacelab mission) for a later flight, Hilmers was reassigned to the STS-26R return to flight mission. (The 61F payload, Ulysses, eventully flew on STS-41.)


I had but sold unsigned crew photos of 61F (and 61G, the other Death Star flight), but kept this image because it was interesting. When I met Hilmers at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space museum, he forgot he was assigned to a Centaur flight.


I'm pretty sure I had this image at the time I met Navy Capt. Rick Hauck at a meeting of the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond, but I probably misplaced it. (Hauck would have been 61F's commander, and also flew on STS-26R, also as its commander.) When I saw Hauck at the MIT+150 event, I got him to sign it. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to talk with him about the 61F training.


And I figured why not, send it off to Roy Bridges for his signature, and I got it back in less than a month. So now I have the 61F crew less Lounge.


After that, I sent it to John Fabian, who was assigned first to Mission 61D/Spacelab 4, and then with that flight's postponment, to one of the Galileo flights before he left NASA. I got it back from Fabian in about a week.


And then I sent it to James D. A. "Ox" van Hoften, who returned it in about four months.


Now to figure out who else is a good TTM signer. I have Norman Thagard, and Ron Grabe to choose from.


Thagard has started to do appearances in his hometown area since his retirement, and I just had to be patient. Got the OK to send it for his signature as well as my STS-71 crew litho. So now I have just Grabe to get to complete the living members of 61G. Tallahassee, Fla., 23 Feb. 2016.


And after sending an LOR, Grabe signed this, completing it. Send 8 April 2017, recvd back 24 April 2017.

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Taken on April 24, 2017