Atlantis launched from Kennedy Space Center on November 24, 1991 at 6:44 PM EST and landed at Edwards AFB on December 1 at 2:34 PM PST. The shuttle orbited 110 times at an altitude of 197 nautical miles at an inclination of 28.5 degrees and travelled 2.9 million miles. The mission lasted 6 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes, and 44 seconds.

This was an unclassified Department of Defense mission.

The payload included a Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite and attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), which were deployed on flight day one. Cargo bay and middeck payloads: Interim Operational Contamination Monitor (IOCM); Terra Scout; Military Man in Space (M88-1); Air Force Maui Optical System (AMOS); Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM); Shuttle Activation Monitor (SAM); Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III); Visual Function Tester-1 (VFT-1); Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI). Bioreactor Flow and Particle Trajectory experiment; and Extended Duration Orbiter Medical Project, a series of investigations in support of Extended Duration Orbiter.

Atlantis was crewed by Commander Frederick D. Gregory, Pilot Terence T. Henricks, Mission Specialists  Mario Runco, James F. Voss, and F. Story Musgrave, and Payload Specialist Thomas J. Hennen.