Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center on February 3, 1994 at 7:10 AM EST and landed at Kennedy on February 11, 1994 at 2:19 PM EST. The shuttle orbited 130 times at an altitude of 191 nautical miles at an inclination of 57 degrees and travelled 3.4 million miles. The mission lasted 8 days, 7 hours, 9 minutes, and 22 seconds.
This was the second SPACEHAB mission and the first mission undertaken with a Russian crew member. It was the first step in the ongoing US-Russian cooperative space exploration effort.
SPACEHAB-2 was activated shortly after reaching orbit. Taking up about one quarter of payload bay, the 1,100 cubic foot (31 cu.m.) module carried 12 experiments. Four of these involved materials science topics, seven life sciences investigations, and a space dust collection experiment.
On flight day three, the crew made the first attempt to deploy WSF-1 using remote manipulator system arm. WSF-1 was a deployable/retrievable experiment platform designed to leave a vacuum wake in low earth orbit that is 10,000 times greater than achievable on Earth. In this ultra-vacuum environment, defect-free thin-film layers of gallium arsenide and other semiconductor materials can be grown. First deploy attempt was delayed by radio interference and difficulty reading status signs on WSF-1. After second deploy attempt on flight day four was delayed by problems with the WSF-1 attitude control system, five out of seven planned films grown with WSF-1 the platform were suspended at end of RMS arm. WSF-1 berthed in cargo bay on flight day six.
The crew conducted the first NASA-Russian Space Agency joint in-flight medical and radiological investigations. Krikalev communicated with amateur radio operators in Moscow using Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) equipment. On Feb. 7, the crew talked with President Clinton during his tour of Mission Control in Houston, and on Feb. 9 Bolden and Krikalev talked with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, calling from Mission Control in Moscow.
The crew deployed two payloads from Get Away Special canisters mounted on GAS bridge assembly in payload bay: six Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) ranging in size from two to six inches (5-15 centimeters) to aid calibration of radar tracking systems worldwide, and University of Bremen’s BREMSAT, which measured conditions such as acceleration forces affecting satellite.
Discovery was crewed by Commander Charles F. Bolden, Pilot Kenneth F. Reightler, Mission Specialists N. Jan Davis, Ronald M. Sega, Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, and Sergei K. Krikalev (Russia).