STS-57 marked the first flight of the Spacehab facility, a pressurized laboratory designed to quadruple workspace for crew-tended experiments. Twenty-two experiments were performed on this mission representing a variety of subjects, including biotechnology, drug improvement, plant growth, human factors, cell splitting, intergalactic particle studies, the first soldering experiment in space, and high-temperature melting of metals.
Life sciences payloads on STS-57 included the Physiological Systems Experiment-03 (PSE.03), which investigated the role of two growth factors involved in accelerating or enhancing tissue repair. This experiment had direct medical applications by helping dermatologists devise therapies to treat astronauts who receive skin and/or soft tissue injuries during prolonged space flight.
Additional life sciences experiments performed during the STS-57 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.
Among the many payloads on this mission was the capture and stowage of the European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA), which was deployed on STS-46. Additional payloads included multiple Get Away Special (GAS) experiments, including Protein Crystal Growth, Consortium for Materials Development in Space Complex Autonomous Payload-IV, the Pool Boiling Experiment and CAN DO experiments. A study on Super Fluid Helium On Orbit Transfer was also performed to investigate the resupply of liquid helium containers in space. Other experiments were the Fluid Acquisition and Resupply Experiment, Air Force Maui Optical Site Calibration Test (AMOS) and the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment-II (SAREX-II).
Scheduled landings for June 29 and 30 were cancelled because of poor weather conditions at KSC in Florida. The STS-57 mission came to an end as the Space Shuttle Endeavour finally touched down at KSC on July 1, 1993.