NASA launched a record 9 Shuttles in 1985, more than any other year. If all had gone according to plan 1986 would have been an even busier year, with 15 Shuttle launches.
The closest NASA has come to matching the 1985 launch rate was in 1992 & 1997. Eight Shuttle missions were launched in each of those years.
Enjoy this NASA mission patch collection from the Space Shuttle’s busiest year in history: 1985
This was the first mission dedicated to the Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster was deployed and met the mission objectives.
The TELESAT-l (ANIK C-1) communications satellite was deployed attached to the payload assist module (PAM-D) motor. SYNCOM IV-3 (also known as LEASAT-3) was also deployed but the spacecraft sequencer failed to initiate the antenna deployment, spin up and ignition of perigee kick motor. The mission was extended two days to make certain the sequencer start lever was in the proper position. Griggs and Hoffman performed a space walk to attach Flyswatter devices to the remote manipulator system.
The primary payload was Spacelab-3. This was the first operational flight for the Spacelab orbital laboratory series developed by the European Space Agency
Three communications satellites, all attached to the Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) motors, were deployed: MORELOS-A, for Mexico; ARABSAT-A, for Arab Satellite Communications Organization; and TELSTAR-3D, for AT&T.
Primary payload was Spacelab-2. Despite abort-to-orbit, which required mission replanning, mission declared success. Special part of modular Spacelab system, the Igloo, located at head of three-pallet train, provided on-site support to instruments mounted on pallets.
Three communications satellites were deployed: ASC-1, for American Satellite Company; AUSSAT-1, an Australian Communications Satellite; and SYNCOM IV-4, the Synchronous Communications Satellite. ASC-1 and AUSSAT-1 both attached to Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) motors. SYNCOM IV-4 (also known as LEASAT-4) failed to function after reaching the correct geosynchronous orbit. Fisher and van Hoften performed two extravehicular activities (EVAs) totaling 11 hours, 51 minutes. Part of time spent retrieving, repairing and redeploying LEASAT-3, which had been deployed on Mission 51-D. Middeck Payload: Physical Vapor Transport Organic Solid Experiment (PVTOS).
STS-51-J Mission Patch The launch was delayed 22 minutes, 30 seconds due to a main engine liquid hydrogen prevalve close remote power controller showing a faulty ‘on’ indication. This was the second classified mission dedicated to the Department of Defense.
STS-61A Mission Patch The dedicated German Spacelab (D-1) mission was conducted in a long module configuration, which featured a Vestibular Sled designed to give scientists data on the functional organization of human vestibular and orientation systems. Spacelab D-1 encompassed 75 numbered experiments. Other objectives: Global Low Orbiting Message Relay (GLOMR) satellite deployed from Get Away Special canister.
Three communications satellites were deployed: MORE LOS-B (Mexico), AUSSAT-2 (Australia) and SATCOM KU-2 (RCA Americom). MORELOS-B and AUSSAT-2 were attached to the Payload Assist Module-D motors, SATCOM KU-2 to a PAM-D2 designed for heavier payloads.
Two experiments were conducted to test assembling erectable structures in space: Experimental Assembly of Structures in Extravehicular Activity (EASE) and Assembly Concept for Construction of Erectable Space Structure (ACCESS). The experiments required two space walks by Spring and Ross lasting five hours, 32 minutes, and six hours, 38 minutes, respectively. Middeck payloads: Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES); Diffusive Mixing of Organic Solutions (DMOS); Morelos Payload Specialist Experiments (MPSE) and Orbiter Experiments (OEX). In payload bay: Get Away Special and IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC)