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As Space Station Nears Completion, It Faces End of Mission

A number of times in recent weeks a bright, unblinking light has appeared in the night sky of the nation’s capital: a spaceship. Longer than a football field, weighing 654,000 pounds, the spaceship moved swiftly across the heavens and vanished.

Fortunately, it was one of ours. The international space station is by far the largest spacecraft ever built by earthlings.

Circling the Earth every 90 minutes, it often passes over North America and is visible from the ground when night has fallen but the station, up high, is still bathed in sunlight.

After more than a decade of construction, it is nearing completion and finally has a full crew of six astronauts. The last components should be installed by the end of next year.

And then? “In the first quarter of 2016, we’ll prep and de-orbit the spacecraft,” says NASA’s space station program manager, Michael T. Suffredini.

Umm, do you really want *more* government decision-making in your life?

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