Final Space Transportation System research and development flight.
In addition to classified Department of Defense payload, cargo included first Get Away Specials, (G-001) which contained nine experiments from Utah State University;
first commercial experiment involving Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES); Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR);
Induced Environment Contamination Monitor (IECM), which was deployed, and two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments.
Crew rock data for two medical experiments on themselves, operated remote manipulator arm to swing IECM around orbiter, and took photos of lightning activity in Earth's atmosphere.
Two solid rocket booster casings lost when main parachutes failed and they impacted water and sank.
Some rainwater penetrated protective coating of several tiles while orbiter on pad.
On orbit, affected area turned toward sun and water vaporized, preventing further tile damage from freezing water.