space station Orbiting structure in space for use by astronauts and scientists. Space stations are more spacious than most space craft as the occupants may live there for several months before returning to Earth. Space laboratories, such as the American Skylab (launched 1972) and the Russian Mir (launched 1986), are space stations built for scientists to carry out experiments, study the Solar System, and observe distant parts of the Universe, their view undistorted by the Earth's atmosphere. The International Space Station (ISS) became operational in 2000.
space sta·tion • n. a large artificial satellite used as a long-term base for manned operations in space.
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