The mission's primary objective was to deploy and retrieve the Wake Shield Facility (WSF). The WSF is a saucer-shaped, stainless steel satellite measuring12 feet in diameter. When deployed, the WSF generates an ultra-vacuum environment in space that can be used to grow innovative thin-film materials for use in electronics. Two attempts to deploy the WSF were made; unfortunately, neither attempt was successful.
STS-60 was the second flight of SPACEHAB, a small, pressurized module developed by SPACEHAB, Inc., to augment the Space Shuttle's working volume. SPACEHAB provides approximately 1100 cubic feet of internal volume, as well as external surface area. Both internal and external areas can be used for mounting, stowing, and conducting experiments.
Life sciences experiments aboard SPACEHAB included the Immune Response Studies experiment (Immune.01). Immune.01 was the first collaboration between NASA and Chiron Corporation, the commercial partner for all of the Immune payloads. Immune.01 tested the ability of a proprietary compound, polyethylene glycol interleukin-2, to prevent the short-term suppression of the immune system observed during exposure to microgravity. This rapid suppression of the immune system gives investigators a unique opportunity to study ways to prevent or reduce similar immune system suppression that occurs with some diseases and old age.
Additional life sciences experiments performed during the STS-60 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 on board SPACEHAB were the Three-Dimensional Microgravity Accelerometer experiment, Astroculture experiment, Bioserve Pilot Lab, Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus experiment, Commercial Protein Crystal Growth experiment, Controlled Liquid Phase Sintering, Organic Separation experiment, Space Experiment Facility, Penn State Biomodule, the Space Acceleration Measurement System experiment
After eight days in Earth-orbit, Discovery landed on February 11, 1994, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.