The Star Well I was a five-mile-long space station, covered with reflective panels and storage units for solar radiation. It was the brainchild of Roxxon Oil Corporation employee Arthur Dearborn, who designed it to obtain cheap, clean, solar energy and then send it to Earth so it could be sold as electricity, as an answer to the peak oil crisis. At the same time, scientist Dearborn expected that the station would give a chance to perform beyond-the-state-of-the-art experiments. Roxxon needed to buy vibranium to build a ship to send the station's components to orbit, and it also needed anti-detection technology to prevent the competition (and the Warsow Pact countries) from detecting the Star Well I. Obviously, the station would have a self-destruct mechanism, something that Dearborn did not like a bit.
While he sold the idea to his Roxxon bosses explaining how profitable it would be, the station project was initially rejected based on accounting figures, especially in the human resource area: A full-time crew to repair and evaluate needs was too expensive. Dearborn was then offered a choice: Roxxon would finance his project if Dearborn submitted himself to an experiment combining microwave radiation with a willing, living, human subject, so that the person would require less needs and could survive in space. Dearborn agreed to this terms. The experiment was performed by Roxxon's subsidiary Brand Corporation, and turned Deaborn into the microwave-made being called Sunturion, who did not need to breath, required minimal sustenance and could fly in space - although he would never could return to Earth as a human being. The project's budget was rewritten and approved (even the living quarters, while luxurious, were limited), the station was built and Dearborn was sent there as its only crewmember. Dearborn was in contact with his boss, Roxxon's Jonas Hale by videoconference.
The Star Well I made experiments to send solar energy in tight microwave beams to Roxxon's reception antennae on Earth's surface, to transform the energy into electricity. Unfortunately, the experiment went wrong and instead the radiation killed all the living beings in a five-mile circunference covering the two-hundred-person town of Allantown, Iowa. All that people, plus pets and livestock, died suddenly due to the barrage of radiation.
Roxxon knew of the Allantown disaster and of their own responsibility over it, but they did not inform Dearborn. and instead tried to cover up it all. Experts from SHIELD, however, discovered the disaster, quarentined the area, defined the operation as top secret, and recruited Stark International staff and resources to help them researching. Jonas Hill sent several agents to sabotage the investigation, but they failed.
Curious about the situation, Stark International CEO Anthony Stark donned a prototype space armor, #14C, went to Allantown, scanned the area, identified a microwave track and followed it to outer space until he found the Star Well I. Iron Man then was battered by a meteor shower, but nearby Dearborn noticed this and, as Sunturion, went to help Iron Man. Pretending that Sunturion and Dearborn were different people, Sunturion offered Iron Man a meeting with Dearborn to explain about the station. Iron Man told Dearborn about the Allantown disaster, and Dearborn tried to justify it with the life-saving technologies he was developing.
Iron Man's presence had been secretly detected by the Soviets, who sent an armed satellite and drones to atttack the station. Dearborn revealed his secret identity to Iron Man so he'd have a chance to fight the threat; and Iron Man joined Sunturion in the defense of the station. Although the station suffered some damage, the invaders were defeated. Sunturion even teleported to the Soviet control center and destroyed its computers. Meanwhile, Iron Man found the self-destruct mechanism of the Star Well and disabled it.
Hale then contacted Dearborn and, when Hale found that Iron Man was onboard the station, he decided that security had been compromised and tried to activate the Star Well's self-destruct system, only to discover that Iron Man had sabotaged it. Iron Man then threatened to peacefully dismantle the station so it could be used as a proof in a trial - Roxxon and Dearborn would have to face justice for the Allantown deaths. Dearborn, still believing in the progress that Star Well would bring, opposed Iron Man, physically fighting him around the Star Well.
The clash damaged the Star Well which, attracted by the Earth's gravity pull, dropped toward Sarasota, Florida, another inhabited city. Understanding the disaster, Iron Man and Sunturion started working together, looking for a way to stop it. Sunturion teleported to the station's control room and tried using the stations' maneuvring rockets as retros, but he failed and re-joined Iron Man. Iron Man tried his deflector beam, but he did not have enough energy. Sunturion offered him energy taken from his own being, which was enough: Star Well I moved and fell harmlessly in the Gulf of Mexico, although Sunturion apparently gave his life to do so. Iron Man also tried to take some pictures of the station with his helmet camera, again to be used as proof, but Sunturion's microwave energy fogged his film.
Stark returned home and, in the next days, Stark International demanded the Senate to investigate Roxxon's involvement in the disaster that the newspaper insisted was the "Iowa anthrax epidemic. One week later, when Stark discovered that his photographs had been botched, the press still talked about the Iowa disaster.
Points of Interest
Outer reflective panels, masking technology, reception and storage unit for solar radiation, Dearborn's living quarters