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Astronauts Abandon Effort to Activate
      Power System

                           By Brad Liston

                           CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Russian
                           ground controllers told shuttle Atlantis
astronauts
                           on Friday to abandon efforts to activate a
balky
                           power-storage system aboard the International

      Space Station (news - web sites), leaving the problem for the
first
      long-duration crew arriving in November.

      The trouble developed with a sophisticated battery weighing
hundreds of
      pounds and controlled by its own computer and software. One of
eight
      aboard the newly opened Zvezda service module, it stores
electricity
      generated by solar panels, then powers the station during
nightside passes of
      the Earth.

      Astronauts ferried three of the batteries to space and were
supposed to install
      and activate them. One of the three failed to charge, the only
miss on an
      otherwise on-target mission to open and outfit the Zvezda.

      The Russian module, which joined two existing modules in July,
will be
      headquarters for rotating teams of long-duration crews during the
ongoing
      construction of the station, expected to last through 2006. The
first of those
      crews, named Expedition One, is to arrive in November.

      ``Unfortunately, from the telemetry we see that it's still
non-functional and the
      decision has been made to troubleshoot it when Expedition One is
there,''
      Moscow told Russian astronaut Yuri Malenchenko, a crewman aboard
the
      U.S. space shuttle who has been working on the power system for
three
      days.

      The Russian-made batteries have been a problem almost since the
first
      elements of the station were launched in 1998. On this trip the
astronauts
      have replaced two batteries on a second Russian-built module,
Zarya, and an
      earlier shuttle crew replaced four batteries on Zarya after they
began to fail.

      Russians space officials have said the batteries on Zarya were
simply
      over-taxed by delays in space-station construction. Published
reports have
      linked the problems to faulty procedures used by Russian ground
crews.

      The loss of a single battery aboard Zvezda should not affect
operations,
      NASA (news - web sites) said.

      But all eight batteries will be needed in January, when the U.S.
laboratory
      module, Destiny, is added and power demands on the station are
increased.

      Elsewhere on the station, astronauts were stowing more than three
tons of
      hardware and supplies. A Russian Progress cargo ship was
completely
      emptied of its manifest and the crew of seven continued to offload
cargo from
      the shuttle's pressurized hold.

      The astronauts dubbed the utilitarian Progress ``the garage'' when
they saw it
      stacked front to back with containers. Empty, they might call it a
garbage
      barge because that will be its function.

      A succession of Progress spacecraft will be filled with waste by
space station
      crews -- from disposable food containers to lavatory refuse to
laundry --
      then dispatched to burn up during a high-speed reentry into
Earth's
      atmosphere.

      The Atlantis crew has shown obvious glee in occupying the 13-story
station
      -- especially the Zvezda, which has a galley, staterooms, lavatory
and a
      stationary bicycle directly in front of a porthole. Astronauts can
watch the
      Earth roll past and even time themselves with every 90-minute
orbit of the
      planet, giving new meaning to the term ``doing laps.''

      During a series of press and television interviews, Atlantis
commander
      Terrence Wilcutt was asked his opinion of a new U.S. game show to
be
      produced by the ``Survivor'' team. The winner will spend a week
aboard the
      Russian Mir space station.

      ``Actually, I was thinking about putting in an entry,'' said
Wilcutt

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