ISS: Cost in Space

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CAPE CANAVERAL: International Space Station? More like "The Blob." Just as President Clinton was hailing the "football field"-sized station in his tribute to Colonel Eileen Collins Thursday, NASA was making yet another announcement that the project would cost more -- and take even longer -- to complete than previously thought.

"Unfortunately, it's hardly a surprise," says TIME correspondent Jeffrey Kluger. The cash-strapped Russians still haven't built the life-support module. NASA is behind on an X-ray telescope. Prime station contractor Boeing is over budget by $800 million. "An international, collaborative effort like this, with each engineer answering to his own country or his own contractor -- these delays won't be the last."

The figures are staggering enough already. Originally promised to President Reagan in 1984, the ISS was slated for a 1992 launch at a cost of $8 billion. Now NASA is hoping for 1999. The cost? At least $22 billion, but no one's sure.