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Space-time coding (STC) schemes for communication systems employing multiple transmit and receive antennas have been attracting increased attention. The so-called orthogonal space-time block codes (OSTBCs) have been of particular interest due to their good performance and low decoding complexity. In this paper, we take a systematic maximum-likelihood (ML) approach to the decoding of OSTBC for unknown propagation channels and unknown noise and interference conditions. We derive a low-complexity ML decoding algorithm based on cyclic minimization and assisted by a minimum amount of training data. Furthermore, we discuss the design of optimal training sequences and optimal information transfer to an outer decoder. Numerical examples demonstrate the performance of our algorithm.