Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center on September 12, 1993 at 7:45 AM EDT and landed at Kennedy on September 22 at 3:56 AM EDT. The shuttle orbited 157 times at an inclination of 28.45 degrees and travelled 4.1 million miles. The mission lasted 9 days, 20 hours, 11 minutes, and 11 seconds.
One of two primary payloads, Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) was deployed on flight day one. About 45 minutes after ACTS deploy, attached Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS) booster – flying on the shuttle for the first time – fired to propel pioneering communications technology spacecraft to geosynchronous transfer orbit.
On flight day two, crew deployed second primary payload, Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph-Shuttle Pallet Satellite (OERFEUS- SPAS), first in series of ASTRO-SPAS astronomical missions. Extensive footage of orbiter recorded by IMAX camera mounted on SPAS. Joint German-U.S. astrophysics payload was controlled via SPAS Payload Operations Control Center (SPOC) at KSC, becoming first shuttle payload to be managed from Florida. After six days of data collection, ORFEUS-SPAS retrieved with remote manipulator system arm and returned to cargo bay.
On Sept. 16, Mission Specialists Newman and Walz performed extravehicular activity (EVA) lasting seven hours, five minutes and 28 seconds. This was the final of a series of generic space walks begun earlier in year. Astronauts also evaluated tools, tethers and foot restraint platform intended for the upcoming Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission.
Other cargo bay payloads: Limited Duration Space Environment Candidate Material Exposure (LDCE). Middeck payloads: IMAX 70 mm camera; Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) Block II; Chromosome and Plant Cell Division in Space (CHROMEX-04); High Resolution Shuttle Glow Spectroscopy (HRSGS-A); Aurora Photography Experiment (APE- B); Investigation into Polymer Membranes Processing (IPMP); and Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III); Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) calibration test also performed.
Discovery was crewed by Commander Frank L. Culbertson, Pilot William F. Readdy, and Mission Specialists James H. Newman, Daniel W. Bursch, and Carl E. Walz.