Atlantis launched from Kennedy Space Center on March 24, 1992 at 8:13 AM EST and landed at Kennedy on April 2, 1992 at 6:23 AM EST. The shuttle orbited 143 times at an altitude of 160 nautical miles at an inclination of 57 degrees and travelled 3.2 million miles. The mission lasted 8 days, 22 hours, 9 minutes, and 28 seconds.

The mission was planned to study the upper atmosphere and involved seven countries.

The mission carried the first Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS-1) on Spacelab pallets mounted in the orbiter’s cargo bay. The non-deployable payload, equipped with 12 instruments from the U.S., France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Japan, conducted studies in atmospheric chemistry, solar radiation, space plasma physics and ultraviolet astronomy. ATLAS-1 instruments were: Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS); Grille Spectrometer; Millimeter Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS); Imaging Spectrometric Observatory (ISO); Atmospheric Lyman-Alpha Emissions (ALAE); Atmospheric Emissions Photometric Imager (AEPI); Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC); Active Cavity Radiometer (ACR); Measurement of Solar Constant (SOLCON); Solar Spectrum (SOLSPEC); Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM); and Far Ultraviolet Space Telescope (FAUST). Other payloads included Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment, one get-away Special (GAS) experiment and six mid-deck experiments.

Atlantis was crewed by Commander Charles F. Bolden, Pilot Brian Duffy, Mission Specialists Kathryn D. Sullivan, David C. Leestma, and Michael C Foale, and Payload Specialists Byron K. Lichtenberg, and Dirk D. Frimout (Belgium).