Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center on November 22, 1989 at 7:23 PM EST and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on November 27 at 4:30 PM PST. The shuttle orbited 79 times at an altitude of 302 nautical miles at an inclination of 28.45 degrees and travelled 2.1 million miles.

This was a Department of Defense mission and all activities are classified. The launch set for November 20 was rescheduled to allow changeout of suspect integrated electronic assemblies on the twin solid rocket boosters.

Discovery was crewed by Commander Frederick D. Gregory, Pilot John E. Blaha, and Mission Specialists F. Story Musgrave, Manly L. Carter, and Kathryn C. Thornton.