Abstract Microgravity provides a unique environment in which to study normal and pathological phenomenon. Very few studies have been done to examine the effects of microgravity on developing skeletal tissue such as growth plate formation and maintenance, elongation of bone primordia, or the mineralization of growth plate cartilage. Embryonic mouse premetatarsal triads were cultured on three space shuttle flights to study cartilage growth, differentiation, and mineralization, in a microgravity environment. The premetatarsal triads that were cultured in microgravity all formed cartilage rods and grew in length. However, the premetatarsal cartilage rods cultured in microgravity grew less in length than the ground control cartilage rods. Terminal chondrocyte differentiation also occurred during culture in microgravity, as well as in the ground controls, and the matrix around the hypertrophied chondrocytes was capable of mineralizing in both groups. The same percentage of premetatarsals mineralized in the microgravity cultures as mineralized in the ground control cultures. In addition, the sizes of the mineralized areas between the two groups were very similar. However, the amount of 45Ca incorporated into the mineralized areas was significantly lower in the microgravity cultures, suggesting that the composition or density of the mineralized regions was compromised in microgravity. There was no significant difference in the amount of 45Ca liberated from prelabeled explants in microgravity or in the ground controls.