DATE=5/23/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SHUTTLE-SPACE STATION WRAP (L) NUMBER=2-262676 BYLINE=DAVID MCALARY DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= INTERNET= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-S astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut from the space shuttle "Atlantis" have opened the hatches to the International Space Station -- the first people to visit the outpost in one year. As we hear from V- O-A Science Correspondent David McAlary, they began four days of repair and supply transfers to prepare the station for permanent occupation. TEXT: Astronauts James Voss and Susan Helms and cosmonaut Yuri Usachev floated through five hatches separating the space station from Atlantis. They got a preview of the complex they will inhabit for several months next year as the second expeditionary crew. For now, they are getting it ready for the first inhabitants, later this year, by making some necessary repairs. The last time astronauts visited the station, they suffered nausea and headaches -- presumably because of stagnant air and possibly high levels of exhaled carbon dioxide. So the Atlantis crew reworked ducting to improve airflow. Shuttle Flight Director Phil Engelauf says crew measurements showed that canisters left behind last year to remove carbon dioxide from the air are working well. // ENGELAUF ACTUALITY /// We haven't seen any indications of adverse affects or poor air quality. The conditions that we think we've created with these ducting modifications -- we're optimistic we'll keep the air as good as we can possibly make it in the station. /// END ACTUALITY /// The three Atlantis crewmembers went through their work quickly and got an hour ahead of schedule. They lost no time in pulling up floor panels to replace the first two of four dead batteries on the Russian "Zarya" module. Phil Engelauf attributes the speed of their work to the fact that cosmonaut Usachev had done similar work aboard the Russian "Mir" space station and the movements the crew worked out for themselves during training before this mission. /// ENGELAUF ACTUALITY /// They really worked this down to a science like a pit crew working on a racecar. Everybody knows exactly which pieces they are supposed to do and they have gotten it down to be about as efficient as we possibly could and I think that that's bearing out here on orbit. I think they are going very quickly and I think the crew's choreography in training here is going a long way to help that. /// END ACTUALITY /// Later today, transfers of supplies to the space station will begin in earnest. Before Atlantis undocks Friday, the outpost will receive more than a ton of equipment. Shuttle Commander James Halsell and pilot Scott Horowitz will also conduct the first of three daily jet thruster firings to increase the station's orbit. It has dropped over time because of friction with particles in the upper atmosphere and is too low to receive the next Russian module set for launch in July. It will serve as home for the first permanent crew, expected to arrive in October. (SIGNED) NEB/DEM/ WD 23-May-2000 04:48 AM EDT (23-May-2000 0848 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .