A space station (or orbital station) is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space (most commonly in low Earth orbit) for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by lack of major propulsion or landing systems. Instead other vehicles transport people and cargo to and from the station. As of October 2011 two space stations are in orbit; the International Space Station, and China's Tiangong 1. Previous stations include the Almaz and Salyut series, Skylab and most recently 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.
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