NASA's deep space network welcomes a new dish to the family

A powerful new antenna has been added to the NASA Space Communications and Navigation's Deep Space Network (DSN), which connects us to the space robots exploring our solar system. Called Deep Space Station 56, or DSS-56, ...

Genesis of blue lightning into the stratosphere detected from ISS

Dark clouds, the smell of rain on a hot sidewalk, the flashes of intense light followed by a loud crackling and then a low, rolling thunder—who doesn't love a good summer thunderstorm? We've all seen one, heard one, or ...

Asteroids vs. microbes

Inside one of the containers of this 40-cm-across miniature laboratory in orbit, a battle is set to start between asteroid-like fragments and rock-hungry microbes, to probe their use for space mining in the future.

Making methane on Mars

Among the many challenges with a Mars voyage, one of the most pressing is: How can you get enough fuel for the spacecraft to fly back to Earth?

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Space station

A space station is an artificial structure designed for humans to live in outer space. To date, only low earth orbital (LEO) stations have been implemented, otherwise known as orbital stations. A space station is distinguished from other manned spacecraft by its lack of major propulsion or landing facilities—instead, other vehicles are used as transport to and from the station. Space stations are designed for medium-term living in orbit, for periods of weeks, months, or even years. The only space station currently in use is the International Space Station. Previous stations include the Almaz & Salyut series, Skylab and Mir.

Space stations are used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body as well as to provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles. Since the ill-fated flight of Soyuz 11 to Salyut 1, all manned spaceflight duration records have been set aboard space stations. The duration record for a single spaceflight is 437.7 days, set by Valeriy Polyakov aboard Mir from 1994 to 1995. As of 2009[update], three astronauts have completed single missions of over a year, all aboard Mir.

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