The ongoing US-Russia joint space programme negotiations are progressing, quite literally, at lightspeed. The 2 countries are now shipping hardware to each other. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) space shuttle and Mir, the decade-old Russian space station in orbit, have a dance ahead of them. The purpose of the mission is to build an international space station together.
On one of the shuttle missions this year, nasa will fly to Mir solar arrays combining advanced photovoltaic technology with Russia's space expertise. The aging Mir's power will be boosted by 6 kilowatts. If all goes well, the construction of the space station will begin in full swing by end-1997.