Colonel Gary Eugene Payton, USAF, (born June 20, 1948) is an American former astronaut. Payton flew on the STS-51-C mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in January 1985 which launched and returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. STS-51C was the first dedicated Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission. Payton traveled over 1.2 million miles in 48 Earth orbits, and logged more than 73 hours in space.
STS-51-C was the fifteenth flight of the shuttle program and third for the Space Shuttle Discovery. It was the first space shuttle mission dedicated to the United States Department of Defense and therefore, the mission details remain classified.Low Earth Orbit