The World's Highest Laboratory (Air and Space Smithsonian)

July 27, 2016

After 13 years of hauling hundreds of pieces into space and almost 200 spacewalks to connect them, NASA and its 14 international partners have opened the biggest—and costliest—scientific laboratory ever to orbit Earth. But there’s capacity left over, and U.S. scientists who want to fly their experiments in space no longer have to go through either NASA or one of the international partners to make that happen. “You can’t just show up at NASA headquarters and say ‘Here’s a gizmo. I want to stick this on the station,’ ” says Scott Dulchavsky, chairman of surgery at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan. “There has to be an avenue of cooperation.” His NASA-sponsored experiment on telemedicine—using the only medical imaging device aboard the station, an ultrasound machine—has flown twice and is scheduled to fly again this year or in 2014. Full Story