STS-61H was originally scheduled for a 24 June 1986 liftoff with Space Shuttle Columbia. Mission objectives included the deployment of the Skynet 4A and Palapa B3 satellites, and the flight of the Materials Science Lab-4. After the Challenger accident all Space Shuttle crews stopped their training for future missions. The STS-61H crew however participated in a 32-hour simulated Space Shuttle flight on October 29, 1986, marking the first long duration rehearsal since STS-51L. The mission was known as STS-61MT.

The crew

The astronauts that were part of the simulation and the STS-61H/MT crew picured in the cockpit of the Space Shuttle, Michael L. Coats, John E. Blaha, Anna L. fisher, Robert C. Springer and James F. Buchli.

The Artwork

The top photo show the STS-61H/MT crew before dinner at the start of their simulated Space Shuttle mision...

"An ongoing joke that crew trainers have played on this crew involves carrots and their symbolic roles as culinary rewards. A major content of the pictured cake and its decoration is carrot-related"...

The other photo is a close up of the mission cake with the crews mission emblem on it ??

A Personal Story...

..."We were assigned in January 1985 to launch in December 1985. We had a different STS #. I have forgotten [what that was]. Then our launch date was changed to June 1986 and we were changed to STS-61H. We started training in January 1985 and continued until May 1988. Then the crew was changed and we became STS-29 and launched in March 1989."... (When the mission finally flew, James Bagian replaced Anna Fisher.)

Astronaut, John E. Blaha