Gulf News - - Opinion -

- A 21st cen­tury space odyssey be­gan as two Rus­sians and an Amer­i­can blasted off for the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion to be­come the first crew to live in the or­bit­ing com­plex. US as­tro­naut Wil­liam Shep­herd and Rus­sian cos­mo­nauts Sergei Krika­lyov and Yury Gidzenko rock­eted off on­board a Soyuz craft from this Cen­tral Asian cos­mod­rome for a four-month stint on the space sta­tion. The three as­tro­nauts will re­main on the space sta­tion un­til next Fe­bru­ary when a re­place­ment crew ar­rive. The ISS, a gi­ant float­ing lab­o­ra­tory due to be fully com­pleted by 2005 to 2006 at a cost of $60 bil­lion (Dh220.68 bil­lion ) to $100 bil­lion, will be the big­gest man-made struc­ture in space and vis­i­ble from Earth. Ap­plause rang out among a gath­er­ing of Nasa and Rus­sian of­fi­cials.

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