The International Space Station (ISS) is a large satellite equipped to support a human crew and designed to remain in orbit for an extended period of time. It is called the International' Space Station because it is being constructed and manned by multiple countries. These include America, Russia, Japan, Canada, Italy, Brazil and a few other European countries. The Space Station will provide a base for launching exploratory expeditions, conducting scientific research, repairing satellites, and performing other space-related activities.
Initial construction was due to begin in 1997 but it was not until November 1998 that a Russian rocket put the first module into space. One of the most recent developments was on June the 3rd 1999 when the Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the station and left two tons of supplies and equipment. At present it looks likely to be finished by 2004. It will be 14 tennis courts large, manned by six astronauts and will cost about 36 billion dollars.
Shortly after the Second World War the USA and the USSR, two of the so-called superpowers', entered an economic and diplomatic war called the Cold War. There were two main causes of the Cold War. Disagreements immediately after the Second World War over the future structure of Eastern Europe being one, and different political interests being the other. The Americans were capitalist democrats and the Russians were communist. These different political methods resulted in each country viewing the other with suspicion and mistrust and led to great technological and ideological rivalry. One key area that both nations wanted to develop faster than their enemy was military equipment and weaponry. I think that the fear of attack from each other was a large motivating factor for this development.
One particular weapon the Germans had used to great effect during the Second World War was the V2 rocket. When the war ended the USSR and the USA wasted no time in recruiting German rocket scientists, such as Wernher Von Braun, to assist with their weapons programme.