Houston, We Have a Problem

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The International Space Station is now a reality -- and so are the myriad problems and glitches that are bound to accompany such a complex engineering feat. No sooner had the U.S.-built Unity module been docked with the Russian-built Zarya module that the station's first malfunction surfaced: an out-of-joint ring. The solution turned out to be the simple removal of the arm gripping Zarya.

But the next problem to emerge may need a space walk to fix. Two antennas on the Zarya module have failed to deploy, and one of its batteries isn't working properly. "If the Space Station program were undertaking something new or important, then such technical glitches and problems would be worth it," says TIME science writer Jeffrey Kluger. But in his view, the project is little more than "make-work for the aerospace industry." Given that there are still some 40 more launches and 160 space walks needed to assemble the entire complex, there should be more than enough make-work to go around.