A Passionate Life.... By Anne Lenehan /Page 7
"There was some element of, since I have developed them I would do a good job testing
them, but there was also some luck involved. It's one of those things that all came together."
STS-6 was a four-person mission which launched from the Kennedy Space Center on April 4, 1983.
It was also the maiden voyage of the space shuttle Challenger. Other crew members included Paul
Weitz, Karol Bobko and Don Peterson. Story's family was watching alongside the families of other
crew members as he finally had the opportunity to fly in space. It was a successful daytime
launch for a mission which would also include the deployment of the TDRS-1 (satellite). On Day
3, Mission Specialists Story and Don Peterson took those first few memorable steps outside the
spacecraft, performing basic maneuvers in their spacesuits and testing the tools as well as
the manual operation of the payload bay doors, should this ever be necessary. Images of the
astronauts seemingly performing somersaults as they worked their way along the payload bay have
become some of the best-remembered images of the early days of the space shuttle. The crew successfully
completed their mission and returned to Edwards Air Force Base on April 9.
STS-51F, again aboard Challenger, was Story's next mission. It has often been referred to by
Commander Gordon Fullerton, as the "gangbuster payload" because of the amount of experiments
which formed part of the mission. It set a performance record in terms of workload. Other crew
members included Roy Bridges, Mission Specialists Tony England, Karl Henize and Payload Specialists
Loren Acton and John-David Bartoe. Perhaps the most memorable part of this mission for the crew
was the loss of an engine during launch on July 29, 1985. A dramatic sequence of events led
to the shuttle's computer program shutting down an engine, then almost shutting down a second
engine. Quick thinking by experts on the ground avoided the latter and the mission was able
to reach an adequate orbit for the performance of their experiments. This mission was remembered
fondly for the teamwork and friendship among the crew. Story, in addition to his mission specialist
role, also performed the role of flight engineer during launch. The mission concluded on August
6 at Edwards Air Force Base.
Story said, "51F - it's kind of dear to me. Really very dear and as challenging as the
Hubble mission, and it means as much to me as that one."
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