Joseph Percival Allen IV spent the eight and a half minutes of his first climb into space with little to see, save a locker-studded bulkhead. He was alone, encased in a lightweight blue flight suit, steel-toed boots and helmet; quite unlike the bulky ensembles worn by earlier astronauts. In fact, even the four Space Shuttle crews who preceded Allen had flown into orbit in fully-pressurised garments. Now, on this fifth flight of the reusable spacecraft, Allen and his three crewmates- Vance Brand, Bob Overmyer and Bill Lenoir - were dispensing with two decades of tradition: for the Space Transportation System (STS) was now fully operational and on the threshold of fulfilling a decade-old promise to open a new era of routioe and regular access to space for commercial and scientific gain. It was hoped that a fleet of four orbiters - Columbia, Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis - would fly several dozen times per year, although the first 18 months of Shuttle test flights had already shown signs that these vehicles were more complex and difficult to turn around than had been anticipated. Still, during their five-day mission, the crew of STS-5 expected to take several key steps toward making the dream a reality. Allen and Lenoir would make a spacewalk and the crew would supervise the deployment of two multi-million-dollar commuuications satellites into orbit.