The influence of cosmic radiation and/or microgravity on insect development was studied during the 7 day German Spacelab Mission D1. Eggs of Carausius morosus of five stages differing in sensitivity to radiation and in capacity to regeneration were allowed to continue their development in the BIORACK 22 degrees C incubator, either at microgravity conditions or on the 1 g reference centrifuge. Using the Biostack concept–eggs in monolayers were sandwiched between visual track detectors–and the 1 g reference centrifuge, we were able to separate radiation effects from microgravity effects and also from combined effects of these two factors in space. After retrieval, hatching rates, growth kinetics and anomaly frequencies were determined in the different test samples. The early stages of development turned out to be highly sensitive to single hits of cosmic ray particles as well as to the temporary exposure to microgravity during their development. In some cases, the combined action of radiation and microgravity even amplified the effects exerted by the single parameters of space. Hits by single HZE particles caused early effects, such as body anomalies, as well as late effects, such as retarded growth after hatching. Microgravity exposure lead to a reduced hatching rate. A synergistic action of HZE particle hits and microgravity was established in the unexpectedly high frequency of anomal larvae. However, it cannot be excluded, that cosmic background radiation or low LET HZE particles are also causally involved in damage observed in the microgravity samples.