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The International Space Station is finally set to fly. Years late and billions over budget, the giant spaceliner may be an orbiting white elephant

If Russian cosmonauts aboard the soon-to-be-launched International Space Station find themselves running short of borscht, there will be a very good reason: the technicians on the ground ate it all. The Russian space agency has been running on fumes since the end of the cold war, but never more so than in the past few years. Employees at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan often go unpaid and sometimes slip away at the end of their shifts taking pilfered electrical components with them. Some of those employees, less interested in fencing stolen goods than simply eating a decent meal, have even...

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