Philip Baker charts the history of manned space stations from the very beginning in a logical, chronological order. He tells the story of the two major space powers starting out on their very separate programs, but slowly coming together through ASTP, Shuttle Mir, and the ISS, and includes programs that rarely get mentioned the US Manned Orbiting Laboratory, and the Soviet Almaz station, both military backed projects. The Mir space station was one of the greatest human achievements in modern history, and a thorough telling of its story is essential to this book. During its life it grew and evolved into a truly international outpost, with visitors from all over the world taking advantage of the only permanent space station in orbit at that time. This book will be the only one of its kind to tell the whole story of the manned space stations from both nations, from the very beginning, to the current ISS story, and to the possibilities beyond. Each chapter of this book will contain interviews with many of the primary participants, including the astronauts, cosmonauts, designers, mission controllers, doctors and managers most directly involved in the flights. The author paints a vivid picture of two competing nations slowly coming together to form an alliance that is shaky and uncertain to begin with, but grows from fierce competition into solid collaboration.