DATE=2/4/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=U-S-RUSSIA-SPACE STATION (L) NUMBER=2-258822 BYLINE=DAVID MCALARY DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The U-S space agency NASA says it cannot wait much longer for Russia to provide a long-delayed key component of the International Space Station. As we hear from V-O-A Science Correspondent David McAlary, NASA says it will substitute its own module if Moscow does not launch the part by mid-year. TEXT: NASA has rebuked Russia for its failure to launch an International Space Station component called Service Module. News reports quote NASA chief Daniel Goldin as saying the United States is ready to move ahead without the unit. The module will serve as the living quarters for the first few station crews. In addition, it will control the station's altitude, position, and steering ability. Russia's financial problems were the initial reason the module was not built on time. But the Russian Space Agency has also experienced failures of the Proton rocket that is to send it to the iternational station. /// OPT /// A Proton explosion in July prompted the Kazakhstan government - which controls the launch site - to ban further launches. /// END OPT /// The delays have put station assembly behind schedule and NASA says the United States is preparing to launch an interim substitute so station construction will not lag further. The announcement follows Russia's recent decision to revive its own Mir space station, which was abandoned by cosmonauts last year and was to have been allowed to fall out of orbit. NASA Spokeswoman Kirsten Williams says the U-S agency has run out of patience waiting for the Service Module. /// WILLIAMS ACT /// The International Space Station is one of the highest priorities for this agency. Our frustration is that we want to see evidence of commitment to this project. When the Russians are saying they are going to keep Mir orbiting and things like that, that makes us question their commitment to this project. /// END ACT /// // OPT /// NASA has been developing a replacement for the Service Module in cooperation with the U-S Navy ever since it became apparent the Russians could not complete their module on time. It will be a modification of a piece of military hardware originally designed to raise the orbit of spy satellites launched from the space shuttle. // OPT // The U-S component has no living quarters, but would perform the crucial job of keeping the international station in orbit while the rest of it is assembled. Its use on the station means habitation by the first research crews would have to be delayed. // END OPT // NASA wants the Russian module launched by July or August and says Moscow still promises it by that time. But if it is further delayed, NASA spokeswoman Williams says the U-S replacement will be launched next December. She points out, however, that the space agency is not abandoning the notion of ever using the Russian module. /// WILLIAMS ACT /// This interim control module - if launched in December of 2000 - could control the altitude of the International Space Station, it could provide re-boost capability, but it is a temporary piece. So as soon as the Service Module became available, we could incorporate the Service Module into the International Space Station as well. /// END ACT /// In the meantime, U-S and Russian space officials plan to meet in Moscow to discuss the problem next Thursday and Friday (Feb. 10 - 11). NASA says it will decide after then how to proceed and make its recommendations in an early March at a meeting of all 16 countries involved in the space station project. (SIGNED) NEB/DEM/ENE/JO 04-Feb-2000 11:43 AM EDT (04-Feb-2000 1643 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .