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Mission or Study ID:   STS-62
Shuttle Program
Launch/Start Date:
Landing/End Date:
14 days
STS-62 Crew Patch

STS-62 was the 16th flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the 61st flight of the Space Shuttle System. The orbiter crew included Commander John H. Casper, Pilot Andrew M. Allen, and Mission Specialists Pierre J. Thuot, Charles D. Gemar, and Marsha S. Ivins. The launch was originally scheduled for March 3, 1994, but was postponed due to bad weather. The following day, the Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off from Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

The primary objectives for this mission were the United States Microgravity Payload-2 (USMP-2) and Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-2 (OAST-2). USMP-2 included five experiments investigating materials processing and crystal growth in microgravity, while OAST-2 featured six experiments focusing on space technology and spaceflight.

Life sciences payloads flown on STS-62 included the Physiological Systems Experiment-04 (PSE.04). The purpose of this experiment was to study the complex interrelationship between the immune and skeletal systems during exposure to microgravity. Research has demonstrated that exposure to microgravity rapidly impairs the musculo-skeletal and immune systems simultaneously. Simultaneous impairment of these two systems also occurs in some diseases on Earth indicating that the physiological controls of the two systems may be linked.

Additional life sciences experiments performed during the STS-62 mission were those classified as Detailed Supplementary Objectives (DSOs). A DSO is a NASA-sponsored investigation performed by Space Shuttle crewmembers, who serve as the test subjects. These studies are designed to require minimal crew time, power and stowage. Biomedical DSOs focus on operational concerns, including space motion sickness, cardiovascular deconditioning, muscle loss, changes in coordination and balance strategies, radiation exposure, pharmacokinetics and changes in the body's biochemistry.

Other experiments included the Dexterous End Effector, Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet/A, Limited Duration Space Environment Candidate Material Exposure, Advanced Protein Crystal Growth, Commercial Protein Crystal Growth, Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, Middeck Zero-Gravity Dynamics Experiment, Bioreactor Demonstration Systems, Auroral Photography Experiment, and the Air Force Maui Optical Site Calibration Test.

On March 18, 1994, the Space Shuttle Columbia touched down at KSC in Florida. Upon landing, infrared cameras at KSC saw several objects drop from the vicinity of the Columbia wheel well, which were later found to be a heat protection tile and several strips of thermal barrier.

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