SPACE STATION: The Next Step

SPACE STATION: The Next Step

 

The SPACE STATION series is undertaking the critical mission of documenting the unparalleled international collaboration behind the Space Station's launching and construction. It offers a unique look at the people who are making this project possible, the problems they encounter and the solutions they develop. 

The second of a two-part series, The Next Step continues as the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour take the U.S.-made Unity node, the second element of the Space Station, into space to connect with Zarya.

At this point, the Station is already two years behind schedule and problems with the U.S.-Russian partnership begin to surface. The failing Russian economy dries up funds for the third element, the vital Service Module, and delays are put on all future launches as the Americans begin to look for alternatives. Meanwhile, work continues as the next Space Shuttle crew completes repairs and provides supplies for the Space Station's future inhabitants, testing begins on the prototype "lifeboat" for the Station, future astronaut crews undergo rigorous training and preparations for their missions and the massive solar rays, the power generators for the Space Station, are built and tested.

 

Episode Two concludes with a look forward to the end of 2000, when the Space Station will only be one-quarter complete but will have a permanent crew embarking on fifteen years of scientific research that NASA hopes will be the crowning achievement of this next step in the manned exploration of space.