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STS-42 Mission Patch


Occurred 32 years ago

The primary payload was the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1), making its first flight and using the pressurized Spacelab module.



mission duration

8 days, 1 hour, 14 minutes


January 22, 1992


January 30, 1992
Payload specialists and astronauts (six men, one woman) pose for crew photo on rocks with shuttle taking off in background.
Payload specialists representing Canada and the European Space Agency (CSA – ESA) joined five NASA astronauts for the January 1992 scheduled STS-42 mission. Left to right are astronauts Stephen S. Oswald, pilot; Roberta L. Bondar, payload specialist; Norman E. Thagard, payload commander; Ronald J. Grabe, mission commander; David C. Hilmers, mission specialist; Ulf Merbold, payload specialist; and William F. Readdy, mission specialist. The STS-42 mission utilized the Space Shuttle Discovery to carry out experiments for the International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-1). (November 1991)

STS-42 Mission Facts

Mission: IML-1
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 243,396 pounds
Launched: January 22, 1992, 9:52:33 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: January 30, 1992, 8:07:17 a.m. PST
Landing Weight: 1,218,016 pounds
Runway: 22
Rollout Distance: 9,841 feet
Rollout Time: 58 seconds
Revolution: 129
Mission Duration: 8 days, 1 hour, 14 minutes, 44 seconds
Returned to KSC: February 16, 1992
Orbit Altitude: 163 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 57 degrees
Miles Traveled: 2.9 million


Ronald J. Grabe, Commander
Stephen S. Oswald, Pilot
Norman E. Thagard, Mission Specialist
David C. Hilmers, Mission Specialist
William F. Readdy, Mission Specialist
Roberta L. Bondar, Payload Specialist
Ulf D. Merbold, Payload Specialist

Mission Highlights

The primary payload was the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1), making its first flight and using the pressurized Spacelab module. The International crew was divided into two teams for around-the-clock research on the human nervous system’s adaptation to low gravity and the effects of microgravity on other life forms such as shrimp eggs, lentil seedlings, fruit fly eggs, and bacteria. Materials processing experiments were also conducted, including crystal growth from variety of substances such as enzymes, mercury iodide and a virus. On flight day six, mission managers concluded enough onboard consumables remained to extend the mission one day to continue science experiments.

Secondary payloads were: 12 Get Away Special (GAS) canisters attached to a GAS Bridge Assembly in the cargo bay and containing a variety of U.S. and international experiments.

In middeck: Gelation of Sols: Applied Microgravity Research-1 (GOSAMR-1); IMAX camera; Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP); Radiation Monitoring Experiment III (RME III); and two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments.

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