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ISS Agreement Commemorative presented on the occasion of the signing of the International Space Station Agreements.
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Image courtesy of NASA

International Space Station Update
News story originally written on May 26, 1998

The building of the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed again. Russia is undergoing a further monetary crunch, meaning that there just aren't engineers and technicians working on the crucial service module component of the station. Apparently, Russia needs to come up with $70 million so that construction can commence.

As things stand now, construction is likely to be postponed until November of 1998 (one year later than planned). A Russian rocket would transport the control chamber from Kazakstan on November 20. The Space shuttle Endeavour would then follow on December 3 with the second component, a connecting passageway named Unity. The third piece, the Russian service module, is supposed to be completed in time for a spring 1999 launch. No one can live aboard the Station until the service module is in place (because it holds some of the vital life support systems necessary...). NASA is still hoping that a crew will be on board by next summer.

The ISS construction will take place over the span of at least five years. Sixteen countries are participating with an expected total contribution into the tens of billions of dollars!

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