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DATE=5/24/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SHUTTLE-SPACE STATION (L) NUMBER=2-262734 BYLINE=DAVID MCALARY DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= INTERNET= VOICED AT: INTRO: The International Space Station is in a higher orbit, thanks to a push by the U-S space shuttle "Atlantis." V-O-A Science Correspondent David McAlary tells us that the boost took place as U-S and Russian shuttle crewmembers worked another day to restore the station to top condition. TEXT: The Atlantis crew fired the shuttle's jet thrusters repeatedly for an hour to raise the station about 16 kilometers. Shuttle Flight Director Phil Engelauf says they will perform the same orbit boost two more times in the next two days. /// ENGELAUF ACTUALITY /// That went just exactly as scheduled. Everything was perfect. We got the altitude targets and used the same amount of propellant that we had forecast. That all went really, really well. /// END ACTUALITY /// The orbit boosts are necessary to prevent the station from crashing to earth because of friction with the upper atmosphere. The drag is stronger than usual because the sun is emitting more particles as it reaches the most intense phase of activity in its 11- year cycle. By the end of this week, the station's final orbit will be 45 kilometers higher -- enough to meet the next Russian module to be launched in July. That is a unit called the Service Module, itself intended to provide the necessary altitude boosts. The shuttle had to perform this lift because the Russian component is more than two years overdue in space. Russian financial problems and troubles with the launch rocket have kept it grounded. When the Service Module is finally in place, it will house the living quarters and a laboratory for the crews that occupy the station. Meanwhile, U-S astronauts Jim Voss and Susan Helms and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev performed more station maintenance. Inside the Russian "Zarya" module, they replaced another dead battery and expired fire extinguishers. They also installed new smoke detectors. /// HILL ACTUALITY /// The Atlantis crew is making all this maintenance that they're doing for us look easy and progressing right on time. /// END ACTUALITY /// Space Station Flight Director Paul Hill says the reward is worth the effort.. /// HILL ACTUALITY /// All of this is expected to culminate, of course, at the end of the mission with a pristine space station, when the shuttle undocks to pretty much get it back in the same condition we had it in a year ago and easily have the ability to dock to the service module here in two months. /// END ACTUALITY /// The station is to be ready for occupation by the first expeditionary crew due to arrive in October. (SIGNED) NEB/DEM/WD 24-May-2000 04:58 AM EDT (24-May-2000 0858 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .