The Space Shuttle was retired from service upon the conclusion of Atlantis' final flight on July 21, 2011. NASA was reliant even at the time on some of the resupply contracts being fielded out to Soyuz and Progress and the other unmanned tugs, but it had launched a few years earlier into a program of aggressive development of commercial US resupply vehicles. At the beginning of 2014 both SpaceX 's Dragon and Orbital 's Cygnus vehicles have fulfilled commercial resupply contracts, and NASA will be shifting to full-time reliance on these, and possibly in the medium-term future SNC's Dream Chaser and the NASA-developed Orion capsule.
Space Station 76 is a refueling satellite near an alternate-reality Earth, circa 1976. Jessica arrives to serve as the station's new first mate. While she narrates a piece about how she likes the predictability of asteroids, some placidly drifting asteroids are shown colliding in chain-reaction fashion. While at first the station appears normal and the people friendly, Jessica soon discovers that the people on board have issues due to the isolation and stress of being cooped up with one another in a relatively small space far from Earth. This is in addition the usual problems people struggle with, such as infidelity, loneliness, depression, and drug abuse. She tries to make friends and fit in, but, unable to connect meaningfully with anyone, she becomes lonely. She's baffled and disillusioned by the stiff and irritable Captain Glenn, who harbors secrets of his own. She finds herself drawn to Ted, a lonely, married crewman, and his 7 year-old daughter, Sunshine. Ted yearns to reconnect... Written by Ken B.