Space: February 13, 2000


INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION UPDATE: The International Space Station is two years behind schedule, likely to get farther behind, soaking up cash from every space program in sight, and is generating more political friction than scientific data. NASA has sent a top-level team to Moscow to demand that Russia "focus" on the station and demonstrate that their commitment to it is real. The latest data is that $800 million in US aid to the Russian space program has been diverted from the station to any number of other projects (mostly to Mir or simply disappeared). The latest schedule calls for the station to be complete by Nov 2004, but no one believes this will be met. Even people who work on the program are starting to refer to the station as a "White Elephant", a reference to an old Siamese curse as a white elephant did no work, ate huge amounts of food, and bankrupted whoever the King gave it to.--Stephen V Cole


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