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Atlantis Prepared For Station Hookup

                     By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

                     CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Space shuttle
                     Atlantis closed in for a weekend rendezvous with
the
                     international space station, a complicated job made
even
                     tougher by a failed navigation device.

                     One of Atlantis' two star trackers was deemed
unusable
                     Saturday, forcing commander Terrence Wilcutt and
his
      co-pilot, Scott Altman, to add a couple of flip-flop maneuvers to
their
      repertoire.

      ``It adds a little bit of complexity,'' said flight director Phil
Engelauf.

      The linkup was scheduled to take place 220 miles above the border
between
      Russia and Kazakstan early Sunday.

      Although still uninhabited, the space station has expanded since
astronauts
      last visited in May.

      The arrival of the Russian control module, Zvezda, 11/2 months ago
nearly
      doubled the space station's size. A Russian supply ship carrying
toilet
      components, oxygen generators and other gear quickly followed.

      Atlantis' seven astronauts and cosmonauts will unload the supply
ship as well
      as the shuttle later this week. They will install as much of the
equipment as
      possible to ease the burden for the first permanent residents, who
are due to
      move in at the beginning of November.

      In preparation of Atlantis' arrival, flight controllers turned on
the heaters inside
      the U.S. segment of the space station. They also were going to
cleanse the air
      inside the much larger Russian section.

      Following docking, the crew planned to duck into an outer space
station
      compartment to take an air sample for analysis back on Earth. NASA
wants
      to see how well the air filters inside the station work.

      The five Americans and two Russians will not venture all the way
into the
      space station until Tuesday. First, two of the crew will go out on
a spacewalk
      Monday to string power and data cables between Zvezda and the
other
      Russian module, Zarya.

      The star-tracker failure, detected shortly after Friday's launch,
meant extra
      work for the two shuttle pilots.

      The plan called for Wilcutt and Altman to roll Atlantis once the
shuttle was
      nine miles from the space station late Saturday, then flip it back
into the
      proper position for the final approach.

      Flight director Engelauf said the switch in position would allow
the working
      star tracker, which points out toward the left cockpit window, to
lock onto
      the space station.

      The astronauts trained for such an event before the flight,
Engelauf said. He
      could not recall a star tracker failing on the 98 previous shuttle
missions.

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