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Science Event of the Week
In 1998, the first module of the International Space Station was launched on a Russian Proton rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. This $240 million Zarya functional cargo block was followed two weeks later by the Unity connecting module from the U.S. After 16 years of planning and design, the orbiting station was taking shape, the beginning of what some called "a city in space." The project, initiated by NASA in 1983, also involved Canada, Japan and the 11 members of the European Space Agency. After the Cold War, the Russians had been invited to participate, not merely as an exercise in international cooperation, but also to employ Russian scientists who might have otherwise sold their expertise to renegade countries.