DATE=9/7/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=SHUTTLE-OVERVIEW NUMBER=5-46981 BYLINE=DAVID MCALARY DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= INTERNET= VOICED AT: /// ATT: PRODUCERS, THE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE ACT IS AVAILABLE IN FULL AT THE END OF THE FEED /// /// EDS: Shuttle launch is scheduled for Friday, 9/8, 8:45 a.m. EDT. This script is written for use until the spacewalk begins, currently scheduled for Monday, 9/10, 1:05 a.m. EDT based on an on-time launch /// INTRO: The U-S space shuttle Atlantis is set to lift off [has lifted off] from Florida on a mission to the International Space Station. V-O-A Science Correspondent David McAlary tells us that the task facing the crew is to get the station ready for its first full time residents later this year. TEXT: After 16 years of planning and preparation, a U- S astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are to settle in for a four-month stay at the station beginning in November. To prepare their way, a Russian Progress rocket flew up supplies in August. Now, the shuttle mission brings five astronauts and two cosmonauts to transfer the supplies and prepare the living quarters - the Russian Zvezda module -- which docked to the station in July. /// CABANA TEASER ACT /// With the addition of the Zvezda module, we've almost doubled the size of our space station. /// END ACT /// Bob Cabana [kuh-BAA-nuh] is the U-S space agency official responsible for international operations aboard the space station. He says the shuttle crew has a lot of work to do on the 11-day mission to make Zvezda livable. /// CABANA ACT /// So they're really going to be busy, primarily unloading the Progress, transferring equipment to the prepare the space station for the crew when it arrives -- essentially transferring some hygiene items; setting up the toilet, computers, cables; putting the treadmill in, getting it operating -- saving the crew a lot of work once they get up there so they will be ready to go as soon as they arrive. /// END ACT /// The shuttle mission also features a spacewalk by a U-S and a Russian member of the crew to install communications cables between Zvezda and the Russian Zarya module and a compass on Zvezda. Despite the work of this shuttle mission, the first Zvezda crew must do more to make it ready for the team that replaces it next. It is the subsequent crews that will perform full-time scientific research. The U-S space agency's lead station flight director -- Jim Van Laak [LACK] -- says the job of the first crew will be to put the finishing touches on setting the station up. /// VAN LAAK ACT /// When the first crew arrives, they're going to take delivery of basically an infant station. It will not be fully outfitted. Not all the systems will be operational. They will have quite a bit of work to do over the first few weeks getting those systems activated and reconfiguring the station, stowing things in permanent locations, finding their own home, so to speak. /// END ACT /// The schedule calls for the United States and Russia to add new modules and equipment and to ferry cargo and people continuously to the station during construction over the next five years. But whether the Russians can afford to carry out their commitment, however, is still in question. Zvezda was two years overdue because of Moscow's budget shortages and Russian space officials say their funding problems are not over. The Finance Ministry has not released money for 2001, and the Russian space agency's chief of piloted programs -- Mikhail Sinelshikov [sih-NEL-shee-kawf] - says getting it will be difficult. /// SINELSHIKOV ACT - BEGINS IN RUSSIAN, FADES TO ENGLISH TRANSLATION /// We have managed to comply with the requirements as far as the year 2000 goes. Currently we are working very hard on the financing for the years 2001-2002. At the same time I would like to take this opportunity to assure all of you that we fully understand the importance of all these activities and we will do everything in our power to comply with the requirements and not let down our partners. /// END ACT /// Mr. Sinelshikov told reporters at the U-S Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas that obtaining the necessary Russian space program funding is a very ugly process. (SIGNED) NEB/DEM/KBK 07-Sep-2000 14:24 PM EDT (07-Sep-2000 1824 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .