Challenger was back in space on Aug. 30, 1983, after it lifted off at 2:32 a.m. EDT, following a 17-minute delay due to bad weather. It was the first night launch in the Space Shuttle program. A night launch required for tracking requirements for the primary payload, the Indian National Satellite, INSAT 1B, a multipurpose satellite owned by India that was deployed successfully on the second day of the flight.

STS-8 also conducted the first night landing in the program at 12:40 a.m. PDT, Sept. 5, 1983, on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB. The mission lasted 6 days, 1 hour, 8 minutes, 43 seconds. Challenger had traveled 2.2 million miles and orbited the Earth 97 times. It was back at KSC in the record-breaking time of 4 days after its California landing.

The Crew

The 5-member crew, included the first black American to fly in space, mission specialist Guion S. Bluford Jr. The commander was Richard H. Truly, making his second Shuttle flight; Daniel C. Brandenstein, was the pilot, while Bluford, Dale A. Gardner and William Thornton served as mission specialists.

The Artwork

The night launch of Challenger heading toward its third earth-orbital mission is featured in the official insignia for STS-8. The eighth flight of the United States Space Transportation System is represented by eight stars of the constellation Aquila, "The Eagle," The Astronauts have their sumames on the border of the insignia.

Lion Brothers