SLUG: 2-268816 Space Station (L) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:










INTRO: The new crew of the international space station faces a light work day Saturday after two busy days beginning to set up the outpost for permanent occupation. As we hear from V-O-A science correspondent David McAlary, they experienced some frustration finding parts they needed among the many boxes lining the station's corridors.

TEXT: Commander Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev unpacked more boxes and set up more equipment Friday on their first full day in their new home. But they have run into trouble finding a few parts they needed to make the place more comfortable. The lead U-S flight director for their mission,Jeff Hanley, says ground controllers have had to search their inventory to help them locate Velcro strips or cables to provide power to a food warmer and electric tools.

/// HANLEY ACT ///

That's the world that we're in. This station is packed to the gills with stuff. We've done the best job we know how of stowing the items and making sure that we had a good record of where they were stowed. There are so many items hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of items that here are going to be one or tow that may be a little difficult to locate.

/// END ACT ///

In fact, the crew's sleeping quarters are also filled with boxes, forcing them to look for alternative berths until they can clear some of the supplies out.

Compounding the difficulty in finding items at first had been the lack of time for air to ground communication. After arriving Thursday, the crew had only 10 minutes of each 90-minute orbit to speak with ground controllers. But they set up a videoconference system Friday that significantly extends the communication time.

Mr. Hanley says NASA anticipated such problems and has kept the three crewmen's work schedule lighter in the first few days than it eventually will be.

/// HANLEY ACT ///

We've scheduled them for only about five hours of total work per day knowing that here was going to be this overhead of finding things. Our typical ground rule is to schedule them for six-and-a-half hours a day, but we're starting slowly here in terms of how we schedule them.

/// END ACT ///

The station crew Friday began setting up an air cleaning system to remove the carbon dioxide they exhale in their Russian-built living module, Zvezda. Until the unit is ready, they must rely on special cartridges to absorb the toxic compound.

They also plugged in a second food warmer, installed laptop computers, set up a battery charger for cordless power tools, and began maintenance on a failed battery that is one of several supplying electricity to Zvezda.

Mr. Hanley says the station crew will perform many of the same jobs Saturday, but on a reduced weekend schedule. Sunday is their first day off in orbit. (SIGNED)