Endeavour launched from Kennedy Space Center on September 12, 1992 at 10:23 AM EDT and landed at Kennedy on September 20 at 8:53 AM EDT. The shuttle orbited 126 times at an altitude of 166 nautical miles at an inclination of 57 degrees and travelled 3.3 million miles. The mission lasted 7 days, 22 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds.

This was a collaborative Spacelab mission with Japan to study the effects of microgravity in materials and life sciences. Included in the crew were the first Japanese astronaut, the first African-American astronaut, and the first married couple to fly aboard the same mission.

Spacelab-J included 24 materials science and 20 life sciences experiments, of which 35 were sponsored by NASDA, 7 by NASA and two collaborative efforts.

Materials science investigations covered such fields as biotechnology, electronic materials, fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, glasses and ceramics, metals and alloys, and acceleration measurements. Life sciences included experiments on human health, cell separation and biology, developmental biology, animal and human physiology and behavior, space radiation, and biological rhythms. Test subjects included the crew, Japanese koi fish (carp), cultured animal and plant cells, chicken embryos, fruit flies, fungi and plant seeds, and frogs and frog eggs.

Twelve Get Away Special (GAS) canisters (10 with experiments, 2 with ballast) were carried in the payload bay. Middeck experiments were: Israeli Space Agency Investigation About Hornets (ISAIAH), Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX II), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), and Ultraviolet Plume Imager (UVPI).

Endeavour was crewed by Commander Robert L. Gibson, Pilot Curtis L. Brown, Mission Specialists Mark C. Lee, N. Jan Davis, Jay Apt, and Mae C. Jemison, and Payload Specialist Mamoru Mohri (Japan).