Colbert Treads Where No Comic Has Before

Critics call it a huge waste of money; supporters say it is a testament to international engineering and cooperation.

Either way, it is still a vague concept for most citizens of the 16 countries that have forged a partnership to build the orbiting outpost.

Naming Node 3

When NASA opened up the voting for the name of the new addition, now known simply as Node 3, it described the goal of the contest and the mission of the new space station component.

"NASA is deciding on a name for the International Space Station's Node 3 -- a connecting module and its cupola -- before the two segments travel to space and are installed on the orbiting laboratory," the statement said. "The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station and follow in the tradition set by Node 1 -- Unity -- and Node 2 -- Harmony.

Millions of Votes, Thousands of Names

"Space Shuttle Endeavour will deliver the Node 3 components during the STS-130 mission targeted for February 2010. Once the cupola is attached to one of the module's six ports, it will offer astronauts a spectacular view of both their home planet and their home in space," it said.

NASA said it received millions of votes and thousands of suggested names.

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