NASA's space station, first proposed by President Reagan seven years ago, will be smaller and less ambitious than the orbiting outpost originally envisioned, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Until last year, the plan called for a 508-foot, 300-ton space station housing up to eight astronauts. It was to be placed in space piecemeal by the shuttle in the mid-to-late 1990s and would have cost $37 billion, not including operating expenses.Under the new plan, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration would reduce the station's size to about 300 feet, lower its cost and cut its astronaut crew in half, The New York Times said.

Because of their reduced size, the work and living areas will be constructed largely on the ground, reducing assembly work for astronauts on space, the newspaper said.