Nasa’s space shuttle Atlantis will deliver science experiments and a new Russian laboratory to the International Space Station, in an attempt to develop new vaccines to fight disease-causing bacteria.

The Russian-built Mini Research Module-1, also known as Rassvet, was attached on Tuesday morning to the bottom port of the station’s Zarya module and will host nine short-duration experiments.

Among the studies, the STS-132 astronauts will conduct the ninth in a series of US National Laboratory Pathfinder experiments aimed at developing vaccines to fight disease-causing bacteria.

The astronauts will study how several different pathogenic organisms react to the microgravity environment, a scenario which has previously led to development of a potential vaccine for the salmonella bacteria.

Another commercial National Lab pathfinder, Cells-4, will examine cellular replication to determine the use of spaceflight to enhance or improve cellular growth processes used in ground-based research.

The laboratory contains a pressurised compartment with eight workstations equipped with facilities such as a glove box to keep experiments separated from the in-cabin environment.

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