The International Space Station has survived hopefully the last challenge to it's existence, avoiding the same fate as the Superconducting Supercollider. I'll never understand Congress' propensity to fund a program to near completion and then attempt to cancel it. To be fair though, the space station's budget seems to be spiraling out of control much like the SSC. Hopefully some real science will emerge from this $100 billion dollar monster. Probably the most important discoveries from the station will relate to the effects of long-term weightlessness. Hopefully this information will be useful someday on the inevitable mission to Mars.
The first module (Zarya or "Sunrise") is slated for launch in November 1998, followed soon after in December by a Unity Node and docking station. After that, there will be 42 more launches and it will be all done! (in 2004).
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