International Space Station narrowly avoids cancellation

Space Station FreedomDespite plans having recently been expanded with international partnerships, including the Russian space program, the International Space Station comes within a single vote of being cancelled altogether in the United States House of Representatives. The measure to cancel the program is added to NASA’s authorization bill, which comes up for an annual vote; the measure is brought to the House floor by Indiana Democratic Rep. Tim Roemer and New Jersey Republican Rep. Richard Zimmer. Opposition to the space station comes in the form of budget concerns (the $9,000,000,000 already run up in research and construction is more than the total NASA expected to spend when it was directed to build, launch, and staff the station during the Reagan administration). Opponents of the station keep up their attempts to cancel it, however; a vote is later held for a bill that would strip NASA of station funding, effectively ending the program, and that vote also fails. The program survives by a wider margin in a later Senate vote as well. The same session of Congress does prove to be the end of another major scientific endeavour, the Superconducting Supercollider project already under construction in Texas.