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STS 42/IML 1



Space Shuttle Mission STS-42 was the 45th Shuttle flight and the 15th flight of Discovery. Commanding the mission was Ronald J. Grabe, Col., USAF. Stephen S. Oswald served as his pilot. Mission Specialists included Dr. Norman E. Thagard, M.D.; David C. Hilmers, Lt. Col., USMC; and William F. Readdy. Dr. Roberta L. Bondar, M.D. and Ph.D., of the Canadian Space Agency and Ulf D. Merbold, Ph.D., of the European Space Agency, served as Payload Specialists. The main objective of STS-42 was to carry out the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1) mission, a collection of life science and microgravity experiments developed by more than 200 scientists from 16 countries. The IML-1 was the first in a series of IML missions planned to fly aboard the Space Shuttle this decade. In addition the the IML-1 module, STS-42 also carried 12 Get Away Special containers containing experiments ranging from materials processing work to investigations into the development of animal life in weightlessness. Two experiments from the Space Shuttle Student Involvement Program, Convection in Zero Gravity and Zero-G Capillary Rise of Liquid Through Granular Porous Media, were also flown. On Discovery's lower deck, the Investigation into Polymer Membrane Processing investigated advances in filtering technologies in microgravity, and the Radiation Monitoring Equipment-III recorded radiation levels in the crew cabin. The spacecraft maintained a gravity gradient orientation with its nose pointed to space and its tail to Earth in order to minimize firings of the Shuttle's small steering thrusters, thus avoiding disturbances to onboard experiments.

Alternate Names

  • 21846
  • STS42

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1992-01-22
Launch Vehicle: Shuttle
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 13001 kg

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Flight (United States)


  • Life Science
  • Human Crew
  • Microgravity

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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