And ISS Program Deputy Manager Kirk Shireman says the upgrades come just in time for the space station's tenth anniversary this Thursday.
"It's really, at least for me, hard to imagine it has been ten years already. But ten years ago on Thursday, in the early morning hours in Kazakhstan, a very cold day actually, we launched the first element of ISS."
Since that time, NASA has flown 29 shuttle missions to the space station along with a number of unmanned flights between the US and Russia.
"On Thursday we will have completed our 57,309th orbit of the earth. So quite a lot of hardware, quite a lot of work and quite a lot of distance traveled by the ISS so far."
This mission involves four spacewalks. And at the end of the 15-day mission, Astronaut Greg Chamitoff will come home on Shuttle Endeavour after living on the ISS for nearly six months.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.