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The International Space Station now has the people (six astronauts from four countries), the place (three laboratories, 220 miles up) and the time (24/7) for science. The STS-128 mission is going to provide it with more science to do.
With the previous mission, the Japanese Kibo laboratory complex was completed and two experiments installed on its new porch. With the United States’ Destiny laboratory, the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory, and the projects attached to the station’s exterior, there are now 20 research facilities inside the space station and eight experiments going on outside.
But there’s still room for more. When space shuttle Discovery next visits the space station, it will be bringing more equipment for the astronauts to put to use inside those laboratories, as well as other equipment to help the station keep up with the increased demand for air and exercise that came with its increase in crew size earlier this year.