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Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington, DC                   April 9, 1997
(Phone:  202/358-1979)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone:  281/483-5111)

RELEASE:  97-65


     NASA will begin its on-orbit assembly of the International 
Space Station (ISS) no later than October 1998, and is looking at 
options that will allow the Agency to work around the delay caused 
by the late arrival of a key station module.

     "We knew from the outset that building an International Space 
Station was going to be tremendously challenging.  Space 
exploration is not easy or predictable," said NASA Administrator 
Daniel S. Goldin.  "We will work through this schedule issue, and 
we undoubtedly will face additional problems in the future.  But 
we are well on our way to the realization of this world-class 
facility," he said.

     The on-orbit assembly of the International Space Station 
originally was scheduled to begin in November 1997 with the launch 
of the NASA-financed/Russian-built and launched Functional Cargo 
Block (FGB).  Inadequate funding by the Russian government to the 
Russian Space Agency (RSA) and its contractors for building 
another key station element -- the Service Module (SM) -- has put 
construction up to eight months behind schedule. 

     NASA managers and engineers have been reviewing various 
options to mitigate the impact to the ISS program of the current 
schedule slip of the Service Module, and to begin the steps 
necessary to mitigate the impact of potential additional Russian 
delays.  RSA has been a joint participant in the effort to 
identify these steps.  Options under consideration are:

- Modify the FGB to allow for on-orbit refueling and upgrade of 
its avionics capability.  These changes will give the FGB the 
capability to augment the early control and reboost 
capabilities to protect for a Service Module delay. 
- Develop an Interim Control Module (ICM) in conjunction with the 
Naval Research Laboratory to provide reboost capability and 
attitude control in the event that the SM experiences further 
delays, or propellant storage/reboost capability if the SM is 
launched on time.

- Consider the installation of life support systems in the U.S. 
lab to allow early human presence on the ISS.

- Define options involving the ICM to provide the functions of a 
permanent propulsion module in order to complement Russian 
logistics capability and to provide roll control to replace or 
complement the Russian Science Power Platform functions.

     NASA will determine the timing for decisions which need to be 
made in the event that Russia is unable to provide its agreed 
contributions to the ISS program.  These decision points will be 
selected to allow for the timely provision of an alternative 

     NASA has begun initial steps at the working level to 
accommodate changes to the Space Shuttle manifest.  NASA has 
reassigned the Space Shuttle Endeavour to fly the September 1997 
STS-86 mission to the Mir space station instead of the Space 
Shuttle Atlantis.  This change will allow Atlantis to begin its 
scheduled orbiter maintenance down period several months earlier, 
while permitting Endeavour a mission prior to flying the first ISS 
assembly flight in July 1998.

     Additional adjustments to the remainder of the assembly 
sequence will be worked in consultation with the other 
International Partners and research community over the next 
several weeks.

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