The Space Race Then, the sudden end of the cold war and breakup of the Soviet Union* caused some unexpected changes to everyone's plans. With the new Russian Federation space programme being strapped for cash and Space Station Freedom/Fred/Alpha still on the drawing board, NASA signed an agreement with the Russians by which the Shuttle would visit Mir and the U.S. would help fund the Russians in exchange for use of their hardware. This Shuttle-Mir programme lasted from 1994 to 1998, and was a great success; however, Mir was decaying and suffered a serious accident when a Progress automated freighter collided with it in 1997. There was a fire and a breach, with part of the station being exposed to vacuum, and Anglo-American commander Michael Foale had a Crowning Moment of Awesome when he and his colleagues helped save the station from this science-fiction-like incident, even salvaging many of the science experiments. This incident shook American confidence in Mir and, lacking funds, the station was deorbited in
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International Space Station, space station, Space Station Freedom/Fred/Alpha, Russian Federation space, Space Station Freedom/Alpha