1986 in spaceflight

The year 1986 saw the destruction of Space Shuttle Challenger shortly after lift-off, killing all seven aboard,[1] the first in-flight deaths of American astronauts. This accident followed the successful flight of Columbia just weeks earlier,[2] and dealt a major setback to the U.S. manned space program, suspending the Shuttle program for 32 months.[3]

1986 in spaceflight
Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates during the launch of STS-51-L, killing all seven astronauts
National firsts
Satellite Sweden
Rockets
Maiden flightsAriane 2
RetirementsAriane 1
Space Shuttle Challenger
Crewed flights
Orbital2
Total travellers9

The year also saw numerous fly-bys of Halley's Comet as well as other successes.

Launches

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks

January

12 January
11:55
Space Shuttle Columbia Kennedy LC-39A United Space Alliance
STS-61-C NASA Low Earth Satellite deployment18 January
13:58
Successful
Satcom K1 RCA Americom Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitSuccessful
MSL-2 NASA Low Earth (Columbia) Microgravity experiments18 January
13:58
Successful
Getaway Special Bridge NASA Low Earth (Columbia) Getaway Special carrier18 January
13:58
Successful
Manned orbital flight with seven astronauts; Maiden flight of the Getaway Special Bridge
28 January
16:38
Space Shuttle Challenger Kennedy LC-39B United Space Alliance
STS-51-L NASA Intended: Low Earth Satellite deployment+ 73 secondsLaunch failure
TDRS-B NASA Intended: Geosynchronous Communications
SPARTAN 203 NASA Intended: Low Earth Examine Halley's Comet
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster; Vehicle disintegrated at + 73 seconds from an O-ring failure in the right SRB.
All seven astronauts were killed, including Christa McAuliffe, the intended first Teacher in Space.
First Shuttle launch from LC-39B.

February

9 February
10:06
Atlas H Vandenberg SLC-3E
USA-15 (NOSS-8) US Navy Low Earth SIGINTIn orbitSuccessful
USA-16 (NOSS) US Navy Low Earth SIGINTIn orbitSuccessful
USA-17 (NOSS) US Navy Low Earth SIGINTIn orbitSuccessful
USA-18 (NOSS) US Navy Low Earth SIGINTIn orbitSuccessful
19 February
21:28
Proton-K Baikonur Site 200/39
DOS-7 (Mir Core) Low Earth (Mir) Space station23 March 2001
05:07
Successful
Core module of the Mir space station
22 February
01:44
Ariane 1 Kourou ELA Arianespace
SPOT 1 CNES Sun-synchronous Earth observationIn orbitSuccessful
Viking SSC Sun-synchronous Plasma researchIn orbitSuccessful
Final flight of Ariane 1
SPOT 1 retired on 31 December 1990 and orbit was lowered to a disposal orbit in 2003
Viking is the first Swedish satellite, and operations concluded on 12 May 1987

March

13 March
12:33
Soyuz-U2 Baikonur Site 1/5
Soyuz T-15 Low Earth
(Salyut 7 and Mir)
Salyut 7 EO-5
Mir EO-1
16 July
12:34
Successful
Manned orbital flight with two cosmonauts; Final manned spaceflight to Salyut 7 and the first to Mir.
Final flight of the Soyuz-T spacecraft.
Only spacecraft to dock with two space stations during one flight.
19 March
10:08
Soyuz-U2 Baikonur Site 1/5
Progress 25 Low Earth (Mir) Logistics21 April
00:48
Successful
28 March
23:30
Ariane 3 Kourou ELA Arianespace
GStar 2 GTE Spacenet Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitSuccessful
Brasilsat-A2 Embratel Current: Graveyard
Operational: Geosynchronous
CommunicationsIn orbitSuccessful
Brasilsat-A2 was retired on 6 March 2004 and moved 200 kilometres (120 mi) higher to a graveyard orbit

April

18 April
17:45
Titan 34D Vandenberg SLC-4E
KH-9-20 NRO Intended: Sun-synchronous Reconnaissance+ 8.5 secondsLaunch Failure
SSF-D-6 NRO Intended: Sun-synchronous ELINT
SRM burnthrough, exploded 8.5 seconds after launch
Final flight of the KH-9 spacecraft
23 April
19:40
Soyuz-U2 Baikonur Site 1/5
Progress 26 Low Earth (Mir) Logistics23 June
18:41
Successful

May

3 May
22:18
Delta 3914 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17A McDonnell Douglas
GOES-G NOAA, NASA Geostationary Weather satellite3 MayLaunch Failure
Rocket destroyed 71 sec. after liftoff due to engine shutdown; First launch from CCAFS after Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
21 May
08:21
Soyuz-U2 Baikonur Site 1/5
Soyuz TM-1 Low Earth (Mir) Test flight30 May
04:26
Successful
Maiden flight of Soyuz-TM spacecraft; Unmanned test flight
31 May
00:53
Ariane 2 Kourou ELA Arianespace
Intelsat 514 Intelsat Intended: Geosynchronous Communications31 MayLaunch Failure
Maiden flight of Ariane 2; Third stage failed to ignite

August

28 August
08:02
Molniya-M/2BL Plesetsk Site 16/2
Kosmos 1774 (Oko) Molniya Missile defence2 November 2010
15:14
Successful

September

17 September
15:52
Atlas E/Star-37S-ISS Vandenberg SLC-3W
NOAA-10 (NOAA-G) NOAA Sun-synchronous MeteorologyIn orbitSuccessful

November

14 November
00:23
Scout G-1 Vandenberg SLC-5 US Air Force
Polar BEAR P87-1 US Air Force/STP Low Earth (Polar) In orbitSuccessful

December

5 December
02:30
Atlas G Cape Canaveral LC-36B
USA-20 (FLTSATCOM 7) US Navy Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitSuccessful

Deep space rendezvous

Date (GMT) Spacecraft Event Remarks
24 JanuaryVoyager 2Flyby of UranusClosest approach: 71,000 kilometres (44,000 mi)
6 MarchVega 1Flyby of Halley's CometClosest approach: 8,890 kilometres (5,520 mi)
8 MarchSuiseiFlyby of Halley's CometClosest approach: 151,000 kilometres (94,000 mi)
9 MarchVega 2Flyby of Halley's CometClosest approach: 8,030 kilometres (4,990 mi)
11 MarchSakigakeDistant flyby of Halley's CometClosest approach: 6,990,000 kilometres (4,340,000 mi)
14 MarchGiottoFlyby of Halley's CometClosest approach: 595 kilometres (370 mi)

EVAs

Start date/time Duration End time Spacecraft Crew Remarks
28 May
05:43
3 hours
50 minutes
09:33 Salyut 7 EO-5 Leonid Kizim
Vladimir Solovyov
Retrieved test panels from the outside of Salyut 7 and assembled a test "girder-constructor" apparatus in preparation for work on Mir.
31 May
04:57
5 hours 09:57 Salyut 7 EO-5 Leonid Kizim
Vladimir Solovyov
Conducted additional tests on the experimental construction equipment, including the welding of several girders joints.

References

  1. "NASA - STS-51L Mission Profile". NASA.gov. NASA. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  2. "Mission Archives: STS-61-C". NASA.gov. NASA. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  3. "Mission Archives: STS-26". NASA.gov. NASA. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
Generic references:


Preceded by
1985
Timeline of spaceflight
1986
Succeeded by
1987
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