The fifth shuttle mission launched From Kennedy Space Center on November 11, 1982 at 7:19 AM (EST) and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on November 16 at 6:33 AM (PST). Columbia orbited 82 times at an altitude of 184 nautical miles at an inclination of 28.5 degrees and travelled 2.1 million miles. The duration of the mission was 5 days, 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 26 seconds.

This was the first operational mission. The four previous missions were planned only for testing of systems. The shuttle deployed two commercial communications satellites, ANIK C-3 for TELESAT Canada and SitS-C for Satellite Business Systems.  Each was equipped with a PAM-D solid rocket motor that fired about 45 minutes after the satellite was deployed, sending the satellites into a highly elliptical orbit. One Get Away Special and three Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments were conducted. The first space walk was scheduled for this flight, but was cancelled because of a space suit malfunction.

Columbia carried four crew members for the first time: Commander Vance D. Brand, Pilot Robert F. Overmyer, and Mission Specialists Joseph P. Allen and William B. Lenoir.