SLUG: 2-269068 Space Station update (l) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:










INTRO: U-S space agency officials say the U-S and Russian international space station crew has set up most life support systems in their first week in orbit, making the outpost more livable. V-O-A science correspondent David McAlary reports that the three crewmen have begun some biological experiments.

TEXT: After a busy first few days, the space station trio has settled into what the station's lead U-S flight director Jeff Hanley says is a more relaxed routine for their four months stay.

/// HANLEY ACT ///

We had a very demanding plan over the last week. The timeline for the first few days was very, very packed based on the need to get some critical life support systems outfitted in the spacecraft. I've definitely felt the past couple of days a feeling of turning the corner. I think the pattern of working is established.

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Hanley says U-S station commander William Shepherd, Russian pilot Yuri Gidzenko, and Russian flight engineer Sergei Krikalev have brought the communication system with Earth into operation, connected the air conditioning system, installed the oxygen generator and carbon dioxide removal system, and set up an exercise treadmill.

Mr. Hanley says the air conditioner was noisy, forcing the fliers to dampen the sound.

/// HANLEY ACT ///

The crew has done some insulation work around the assembly of the air conditioner and the compressor to quiet it down a little bit. It was rattling a little bit and they've quieted that down and the air conditioner seems to be functioning and doing its job.

/// END ACT ///

In the coming days, they will measure the noise level aboard the station and undergo medical checkups by doctors on the ground.

Although the main focus of their mission is to set up the station for future research teams, the three crewmen will begin experiments on how the body adapts to weightless. They will also take part in emergency drills. One includes practicing an evacuation by entering the Soyuz spacecraft that brought them to the station last week.

And cosmonaut Gidzenko will practice operating manual controls for the November 18th docking of a Russian supply rocket in case its automatic pilot fails.

The crew receives its first visitors when another space shuttle team arrives early next month to continue expanding the station. The shuttle astronauts will add solar power generating panels to the U-S module. (SIGNED)