Hubris and Heroism in Space
Shuttle-Mir and the Last Thaw of the Cold War

45 Minutes
Speaker:  Jim Van Laak

Space exploration brings out the best--and sometimes the worst-- of those willing to take up its challenge.  When the end of the Cold War opened new opportunities for the United States and the former Soviet Union to work together, it came as no surprise that one of the first challenges to be taken up was the shared conquest of space.  However, each country saw its own program as the pre-eminent one and each was reluctant to compromise on its own ways of doing business.  It fell to the program leaders to bring the parties together, to overcome pride, suspicion, and decades of fierce competition, to learn to cooperate and succeed together.

One of those leaders is James Van Laak: the US Deputy Director of the Shuttle-Mir Phase 1 Program, and later Manager of Operations for the International Space Station. Through his first-hand accounts of the challenges and victories of these historic efforts, Jim shares priceless and often heart-stopping lessons from these pioneering programs.  His brilliant story-telling brings to life many little-known tales of personal courage and heroism by astronauts, cosmonauts, and unsung workers on both sides of the Atlantic.   It soon becomes clear how the success of the International Space Station global partnership, as well as future prospects for peaceful cooperation in other activities, all owe much to this pioneering effort.

Hear the story first-hand from the man who learned its lessons on the front lines.  Learn how the triumphs and lessons of this effort can be of benefit to any international or cross-cultural program of today.

photo of Shuttle and Mir