Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center on December 2, 1992 at 8:24 AM EST and landed at Edwards AFB on December 9 at 12:43 PM PST. The shuttle orbited 116 times at an altitude of 174 nautical miles and an inclination of 57 degrees. The mission lasted 7 days, 19 minutes, and 47 seconds.

This was a primary purpose was a classified payload for the Department of Defense.

Also aboard were two unclassified secondary payloads and nine unclassified middeck experiments.

Secondary payloads contained in or attached to Get Away Special (GAS) hardware in the cargo bay included the Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) the combined Shuttle Glow Experiment/Cryogenic Heat Pipe Experiment (GCP).

Middeck experiments included Microcapsules in Space (MIS-l); Space Tissue Loss (STL); Visual Function Tester (VFT-2); Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM); Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME-III); Fluid Acquisition and Resupply Experiment (FARE); Hand-held, Earth-oriented, Real-time, Cooperative, User-friendly, Location-targeting and Environmental System (HERCULES); Battlefield Laser Acquisition Sensor Test (BLAST); and the Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS).

Discovery was crewed by Commander David M. Walker, Pilot Robert D. Cabana, and Mission Specialists Guion S. Bluford, James S. Voss, and Michael R. Clifford.