|Mission type||Satellite deployment|
|Mission duration||7 days, 7 hours, 51 minutes, 51 seconds|
|Spacecraft||Space Shuttle Columbia|
|Members||Michael L. Coats|
Robert C. Springer
Anna L. Fisher
James F. Buchli
Nigel R. Wood
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||24 June 1986, 13:09:00UTC|
|Launch site||Kennedy LC-39B|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||1 July 1986, 21:00:51UTC|
|Landing site||Kennedy Runway 15|
|Commander||Michael L. Coats|
|Pilot||John E. Blaha|
|Mission Specialist 1||Robert C. Springer|
|Mission Specialist 2||Anna L. Fisher|
|Mission Specialist 3||James F. Buchli|
|Payload Specialist 1||Pratiwi Sudarmono|
|Payload Specialist 2||Nigel R. Wood|
|Payload Specialist 1||Taufik Akbar|
|Payload Specialist 2||Richard Farrimond|
Before James Buchli was assigned to STS-61-H, Norman Thagard was the potential Mission Specialist 3 for this flight.
The main task of the mission was to bring two commercial satellites into orbit – Palapa B3 and Westar 6S, and military communication satellite - Skynet 4A, The British Skynet and the Indonesian Palapa were supposed to be accompanied by an astronaut from the two countries.
After the Challenger disaster the deployment of commercial satellites by the Space Shuttle was stopped, and for several years no international astronauts were nominated. Thus, neither the British nor the Indonesian payload specialists got a second chance for a spaceflight. The NASA crew however stayed together and participated in a 56-hour-long simulated mission known as STS-61-M(T) in 1987. The crew finally flew on STS-29, with Anna Fisher being replaced by James Bagian.
Skynet 4A was launched on 1 January 1990 with a Titan III, Westar 6S was renamed Galaxy 6 and launched on 12 October 1992 by an Ariane 44L. Palapa B3 was renamed to Palapa B2P and was launched on 20 March 1987 with a Delta-3920.