The first space station, the US' Skylab, didn't last long — it was in Earth's orbit from 1973 to 1979 and it was visited by crews just three times, in 1973 and 1974. Skylab was plagued with problems from the beginning; it was heavily damaged during launch, losing its micrometeoroid shield and one of its main solar panels. The US planned to launch a new station, Freedom, in the 1980s, but budget constraints nearly killed it. After the Soviet Union fell, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin agreed to cooperate in space, and the ISS was born. It's a compendium of five space agencies: NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.