News

DATE=1/16/97
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-208801
TITLE=SHUTTLE/MIR THURSDAY (L)
BYLINE=DAVID MCALARY
DATELINE=WASHINGTON

INTRO: U-S ASTRONAUT JERRY LINENGER ['LIH-NENB-JER] IS SETTLING INTO HIS NEW QUARTERS ABOARD THE RUSSIAN "MIR" SPACE STATION, AND HAS GOTTEN A TOUR FROM THE MAN HE IS REPLACING, ASTRONAUT JOHN BLAHA ['BLAH-HAH]. SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT DAVID MCALARY REPORTS THE COMBINED CREW OF THE "MIR" AND THE U-S SPACE SHUTTLE "ATLANTIS" HAS BEEN BUSY TRANSFERRING CARGO TO THE STATION TO KEEP IT SUPPLIED FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS.

TEXT: DR. LINENGER, A PHYSICIAN, IS NOW OFFICIALLY A COSMONAUT AND ON HIS 42ND BIRTHDAY, HAS BEEN WORKING WITH HIS EIGHT U-S AND RUSSIAN SPACE COMPANIONS TO MOVE EXPERIMENTAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES THAT WILL HELP KEEP "MIR" STOCKED DURING HIS FOUR-MONTH STAY.

THE CREWS HAVE MOVED HALF OF THE NEARLY THREE-THOUSAND KILOGRAMS OF GEAR, INCLUDING THE ITEMS MOST CRITICAL TO THE MISSION.

DR. LINENGER'S WIFE IS EXPECTING THEIR SECOND CHILD IN JUNE, THE MONTH AFTER HIS SCHEDULED REPLACEMENT BY ANOTHER U-S ASTRONAUT. HE TOLD BROADCAST INTERVIEWERS SHE SUPPORTS HIS "MIR" FLIGHT, EVEN THOUGH IT MEANS HIS PROLONGED ABSENCE DURING HER PREGNANCY.

HE ADDS DURING SUCH A DELICATE TIME, THEY HAVE AGREED HE SHOULD NOT BE INFORMED OF EMERGENCIES BY GROUND CONTROLLERS.

// LINENGER ACT //

I TOLD ALL THOSE FOLKS THAT IF THERE IS SOMETHING BAD THAT HAPPENS THAT I CAN NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT, IT WOULD PROBABLY BE BEST NOT TO INFORM ME ABOUT IT. I THINK THEY WILL FEEL A LOT MORE COMFORTABLE IN THAT SITUATION, BUT THE FINAL JUDGE OF THAT IS MY WIFE, AND THAT IS WHOM I WOULD WANT TO HEAR IT FROM.

// END ACT //

THIS IS THE FIFTH JOINT FLIGHT OF "ATLANTIS" AND "MIR," WITH FOUR MORE SCHEDULED THROUGH 1998. THIS SERIES OF DOCKING MISSIONS WITH TRANSFERS OF ASTRONAUTS AND SUPPLIES TO AND FROM THE SPACE STATION IS PROVIDING THE U-S AND RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCIES TRAINING IN TECHNIQUES AND PROCEDURES TO BUILD THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION BEGINNING IN NOVEMBER.

U-S MISSION OPERATIONS OFFICIAL BOB CASTLE SAYS THE REPEATED JOINT TRAINING FLIGHTS ARE BECOMING A ROUTINE.

// CASTLE ACT //

WE ARE TRYING VERY HARD TO MAKE THEM ROUTINE. WE PRETTY MUCH KNOW HOW TO DO THESE KINDS OF FLIGHTS. WE ARE CONTINUING TO LEARN THINGS.

// OPT // WE ARE CONTINUING TO LEARN HOW TO DO TRANSFERS A LITTLE BIT BETTER, WE ARE CONTINUING TO LEARN HOW TO WORK WITH THE RUSSIANS, HOW TO WORK WITH EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE PROGRAM A LITTLE BETTER.

// END OPT //

BUT IT IS FAIR TO SAY WE HAVE LEARNED HOW TO DO A "MIR" RESUPPLY AND CREW EXCHANGE MISSION AND WE'RE GETTING FAIRLY GOOD AT IT AND WE WILL GET BETTER AT IT OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF THESE MISSIONS.

// END ACT //

THE NEXT DOCKING MISSION IS SCHEDULED FOR MAY WHEN ASTRONAUT LINENGER WILL BE REPLACED ON "MIR" BY ANOTHER U-S SHUTTLE CREW MEMBER. FOR NOW, DR. LINENGER WILL BID FAREWELL TO HIS U-S COLLEAGUES WHEN THE SHUTTLE SEPARATES FROM "MIR" EARLY MONDAY [9:12 P.M. E.S.T. SUNDAY]. IT WILL RETURN JOHN BLAHA TO EARTH TUESDAY AFTER HIS 128-DAYS IN ORBIT. (SIGNED)

NEB/DEM/RAE

16-Jan-97 12:59 PM EST (1759 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America