Jan. 25, 1984 This one made Nixon's decision to scrap Apollo look almost visionary. NASA and its contractors loved the idea of a space station since, with no destination for manned crews outside of the earth's orbit and the shuttle already proving to be too temperamental and expensive to fly with the frequency its enthusiasts had promised, a permanent manned platform would keep everyone in the space game year-round. Reagan approved the plan, announcing it in his 1984 State of the Union address. The station, so he and NASA promised, could be ready in a few years and cost no more than $8 billion. Twenty-three years later, it's still not done and the projected cost has ballooned to $100 billion. By many assessments, the only reason the space shuttle exists at all anymore is to build the station and the only reason the station exists is to give the shuttles somewhere to go. What keeps this bucket brigade of waste going? Start with the dozens of congressional districts in which all the hardware is being built and stop there too.