Research Drought Looms After Neurolab Mission

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Science  24 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5363, pp. 515
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5363.515

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA-- The Neurolab mission currently aboard the space shuttle Columbia is the last scheduled flight in the Spacelab program, the European contribution to NASA's space shuttle effort that made its debut in 1983. Now the opportunities for conducting lab experiments in space will be few and far between until the yet-to-be-built international space station is ready for use. Although Spacelab was built for 50 missions, its life was cut short after NASA agreed in 1993 to work with Russia in using the Mir station for space research; unfortunately for scientists, the aging Mir, with its constant maintenance troubles and lack of sophisticated scientific equipment, has proved to be an unhappy alternative.