This is a detailed, investigative history of the US-Russian space relationship from a long-time NASA insider-turned commentator. Oberg describes, from the points of view of key individuals both inside and outside the programme, the strengths and weaknesses that each side has brought to the partnership, the original hopes and promises for its benefits and its triumphs and disappointments. Proficient in Russian and a frequent visitor to that country, Oberg reveals the extent of the greed, corruption and covered-up setbacks that have marked the devolution of the Soviet space programme to its recent virtual collapse. He uncovers the US-Mir venture and NASA's reluctance to learn from its lessons. Ultimately, Oberg examines the prospects for the International Space Station, a project that he believes was begun with good intentions, but is in danger of running aground. With the Russians unable (or unwilling) to build their pieces of the station, NASA must assume more and more responsibility for it in an era when their "faster, cheaper, better" philosophy is already wearing very thin. Recent losses such as the Mars Observer are nothing compared to the disasters that could befall a cheaply Oberg has extensive contacts within NASA and is considered a leading expert in the Russian space programme. While he is still enthusisastic about many of NASA's goals, he is also able to take an informed critical stance on the space programme's shortcomings.
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