Today, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is proud to boast that the American-led International Space Station (ISS) is the result of years of co-operation between 16 countries. It was not always so, the American-led effort to build a space station with its political allies in Europe and Japan began as an attempt to construct a station that would be better than the Soviet-launched Mir space station. President Reagan called that effort Space Station Freedom, claiming that political freedom was something that America, Europe, and Japan shared while the Soviet Union suffered under a Communist dictatorship. Space Station Freedom represented the dying throw of America’s effort in the Cold War-driven Space Race that had begun with Sputnik and ended with Mir. Whilst America had stunned the world by landing six Apollo flights on the Moon, that effort was not sustained. The Space Shuttle was an iconic flying machine, but until Space Station Freedom was authorised it had attempted to be all things to all people and its design had suffered as a result.
KeywordsInternational Space Station European Space Agency Launch Vehicle American Sector Marshall Space Flight Centre
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