The primary objective of the STS-72 mission is to capture and return to Earth a Japanese microgravity research spacecraft known as Space Flyer Unit (SFU). The 7,885lbs SFU spacecraft was launched by ... Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan at 8:01 UT on March 18, 1995 aboard a Japanese H-II rocket (HII-3).
The STS-72 mission will also deploy (for about 50 hours) and then retrieve the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology Flyer (OAST-Flyer) spacecraft. OAST-Flyer is the seventh in a series of missions aboard reuseable free-flying Spartan carriers. It consists of four experiments: Return Flux Experiment (REFLEX), Global Positioning System Attitude Determination and Control Experiment (GADACS), Solar Exposure to Laser Ordnance Device (SELODE) and the University of Maryland Spartan Packet Radio Experiment (SPRE).
Other experiments onboard STS-72 include the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Experiment (SSBUV-8) (previously flown on STS-34, STS-41, STS-43, STS-45, STS-56, STS-62 and STS-66), EDFT-03, Shuttle Laser Altimeter Payload (SLA-01/GAS(5)), VDA-2, National Institutes of Health NIH-R3 Experiment, Space Tissue Loss Experiment (STL/NIH-C), Pool Boiling Experiment (PBE) (hardware previously flown on STS-47, STS-57 and STS-60) and the Thermal Energy Storage (TES-2) experiment (previously flown on STS-69).
Get Away Special payloads include the United States Air Force Academy G-342 Flexible Beam Experiment (FLEXBEAM-2), Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies' G-459 - Protein Crystal Growth Experiment and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory GAS Ballast Can with Sample Return Experiment.
Endeavour's 10th flight also includes two 6.5 hour spacewalks by three astronauts to test hardware and tools that will be used in the assembly of the International Space Station starting in late 1997. EVA-1 on flight day five consists of Crewmembers Leroy Chiao (EV1) and Dan Barry (EV2) while EVA-2 on Flight Day 7 consists of Leroy Chiao (EV1) and Winston Scott (EV2).
[Summary provided by NASA]