This video shows the ISS construction sequence in 25 seconds. Since the 1950's people have dreamed about assembling a space station. Despite all the obstacles and delays, the ISS is still coming together. 17 more shuttle flights are planned for completion, with one additional flight to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour will then be retired to museums to make way for the Orion CEV.
The ISS was originally planned to house 8 astronauts. An X-38 reentry vehicle to be docked with ISS fell victim to budget cuts. As we learned from the Titanic, you need enough lifeboats for everyone. We rely on the Russian Soyuz as an escape pod, limiting crews to three. The Orion, ASC Spaceplane and other vehicles described here are designed to service ISS in the future.
This is not the giant orbiting wheel of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, but MGM always made sets look grander than reality.