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Washington Post / Tuesday, September 12, 2000; Page A01
Soviet-Era Work On Bioweapons Still Worrisome
- Michael Dobbs
Washington Post Foreign Service
STEPNOGORSK, Kazakhstan -- A decade ago, Alik Galiyev had a promising career as one of the Soviet Union's leading biological weapons scientists. Together with his colleagues, he helped design and construct the world's largest anthrax production plant, capable of churning out enough biological agents to destroy all urban life on the planet.
Today, despite a $100 million U.S. program to defuse the Soviet biological weapons threat and engage former germ scientists in peaceful pursuits, Galiyev is angry and disillusioned. He feels that his onetime American enemies have devoted a lot of time and energy to dismantling his extraordinary workplace but have done little to convert the factory to peaceful use or provide long-term employment for hundreds of highly skilled scientists.
"The Americans just want to destroy; they don't want to create anything," complained Galiyev, in comments echoed by other senior scientists at the sprawling bioweapons plant on the outskirts of this crumbling Soviet-era town on the plains of northern Kazakhstan.
While U.S. officials insisted that such remarks are unfair, the comments reflect widespread skepticism both here and in Russia about the benefits of cooperation with the United States on eliminating weapons of mass destruction. Senior Russian officials complained that much of the American money earmarked for retraining former weapons scientists has been frittered away on administrative expenses, and they have retaliated in tit-for-tat games with Washington over access to top secret weapons facilities.The bitterness felt by Galiyev and his fellow bioweapons makers could pose a significant new proliferation threat for the United States, independent experts say. If the weapons makers conclude that America has nothing further to offer them, they could be tempted to sell their knowledge to countries such as Iran which, according to the Pentagon, has been attempting to recruit Russian scientists to assist with its own clandestine biological weapons program.The backlash at Stepnogorsk comes when the Clinton administration's cooperative threat reduction program--one of the centerpieces of America's post-Cold War diplomacy--is also under attack at home. Congress has forbidden the Pentagon to spend any money on Soviet military conversion and has sharply cut funding for the Department of Energy's nuclear cities initiative, which was designed to find alternative employment for Russian weapons designers, in part because of lack of access to top secret facilities.
U.S. officials point out that they have spent $4 million on "redirection projects" in Stepnogorsk, including the creation of an environmental monitoring center that employs several dozen scientists, in addition to $5 million on dismantling the anthrax plant. At the same time, they concede that converting Soviet weapons facilities to civilian use has proved much more difficult than expected. A $5.8 million plan to use part of the Stepnogorsk factory for civilian pharmaceutical production ended in failure in 1997, touching off bitter recrimination between the American and Kazakh partners.
Andrew Weber, the Pentagon official in charge of the Stepnogorsk project, insists that the United States will not abandon the 200 or so scientists with critical proliferation knowledge who remained at the plant after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. "We have to deal with their frustration and continue to work with them," he said. "We want these former bioweaponeers working with us, and not with those who would exploit their knowledge for evil."
With towering fermenters that were capable of churning out two tons of anthrax a day, enough to wipe out an entire city, Stepnogorsk is the most visible evidence of a vast biological weapons program that was a key part of the Soviet Union's strategic arsenal. Although the United States suspected the Kremlin was developing bioweapons in defiance of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, the scale of the effort became apparent only after 1991, with the emergence of 15 new independent countries, including Kazakhstan.
Even today, much less is known about the Soviet biological weapons program than the nuclear weapons program. While the Kazakh government has been cooperating with the United States on the dismantling of places like Stepnogorsk, Russian officials continue to conceal the full extent of their Cold War bioweapons program. This huge facility--hundreds of times the size of any comparable bioweapons plant anywhere in the world--remained undetected by U.S. satellites for almost two decades.
One consequence of this lack of knowledge has been a delay in responding to the Soviet-era bioweapons threat. The $100 million earmarked for bioweapons counter-proliferation programs--some of which has been spent on cleaning up a former testing ground at Vozrozhdeniya Island in the Aral Sea--is minuscule compared with the $2.4 billion spent since 1991 on locking up loose nukes and providing work for Soviet nuclear scientists.
Isolated from the changes that have been sweeping big cities, such as Moscow and the former Kazakh capital of Almaty, the crumbling, half-abandoned town of Stepnogorsk provides an eerie flashback to life in the Soviet Union. Heating pipes are patched together with pieces of fabric; concrete bunkers are covered with weeds; sidewalks and basketball courts are disappearing back into the steppe. The bioweapons plant, which cost an estimated $1 billion to build, looks like an abandoned junkyard full of rusting equipment.
The mood of the scientists who used to work here matches the wretched circumstances of the city in which many of them spent their careers. It is a complicated and potentially explosive mixture of shame, wounded pride, dependence on outside assistance and blind anger at the forces that have reduced them to this state.
In July, the Pentagon organized a conference in Stepnogorsk to showcase its anti-proliferation program's successes and encourage American private investment in Kazakhstan. But none of the dozen or so U.S. businessmen invited to attend the conference showed up; there is little private sector interest in investing in such a remote and undeveloped place. To the embarrassment of U.S. officials, the meeting quickly turned into a forum for the airing of bottled-up grievances by the Kazakh and Russian participants.
We need real assistance, not just lessons in marketing," exploded Yuri Rufov, head of an enterprise called Biomedpreparat that was hoping to produce medicines here under a Pentagon-sponsored joint venture. "We gave up everything we had before, and we haven't got anything in return."
The Soviet Union began building this macabre death factory in 1982, at the height of the Cold War, a time when many Soviets were convinced that superpower conflict was inevitable. Mobilization plans called for the storage of up to 500 tons of anthrax--a powder-like substance that turns to froth inside victims' lungs, depriving them of oxygen--and its storage in nuclear-proof underground bunkers. In the event of mobilization, the anthrax would have been loaded into bomblets and shipped out of here on reinforced railroad cars to be placed onto SS-18 missiles aimed at the United States.
Stepnogorsk was part of a vast toxic archipelago that included research centers and testing sites, such as Vozrozhdeniya Island. "It was madness of course, but it reflected the madness of the times," said Vladimir Repin, a bioweapons scientist at the Vector research institute in Siberia. "Remember we had nuclear weapons that could destroy the world 100, 200 times over. We were convinced that the Americans were doing the same things we were."
Weber, a former U.S. diplomat in Kazakhstan, has a vivid memory of his first visit to the Stepnogorsk complex in 1995. By that time, Washington had a good idea of what had been going on here, thanks to the testimony of a former plant director, Ken Alibek, who defected to the United States in 1992. Even so, the sight of the four-story-high fermenters and airtight testing chamber, where gruesome experiments were performed on dogs and monkeys, was "chilling to the bone," Weber said. "It was then that I understood for the first time at an emotional level what Ronald Reagan had meant by the words 'evil empire.' "
While other countries, including the United States, Iraq and Japan, have experimented with biological weapons, none came remotely near the production capacity of Stepnogorsk. The United States says it halted its offensive bioweapons program in 1972.
At first, the Stepnogorsk scientists insisted in interviews that the plant had been built for "defensive purposes," to produce vaccines in the event of an American bioweapons attack. But, after a few drinks and saunas, they began to loosen up. "We have been hanging noodles on your ears," acknowledged Gennady Lepyoshkin, Alibek's successor as director of Stepnogorsk, using the Russian equivalent of "we have been pulling the wool over your eyes."
Determined to prevent "rogue states" or terrorists from gaining access to such a killing machine, the Pentagon launched in 1996 what became known as the "Stepnogorsk initiative" in cooperation with Kazakh authorities. The implicit bargain at the heart of the deal was that the United States would assist in the retraining of former Soviet weapons scientists in return for the total dismantling of Kazakhstan's offensive bioweapons capability.
The conversion side of the strategy soon ran into difficulties. The Washington entrepreneur chosen by the Pentagon to run the American side of the joint venture to manufacture pharmaceuticals, John Allen, had good political connections but little practical experience. His Kazakh partners say he failed to deliver on his promises and purchased outdated equipment. Under heavy pressure from congressmen sympathetic to Allen, the Pentagon ended up paying the contractor $2.1 million after he accused the U.S. government of breach of contract.
Allen, a former U.S. Army intelligence agent in Laos and Cambodia and Reagan campaign operative, blames both the U.S. government and Lepyoshkin, the facility's director, for the failure of the joint venture. "It was a disaster," he said. "They had no idea what their needs were. They had never made a pill in their life."
Vladimir Bugreyev, director of a biotechnology institute that employs many former Stepnogorsk scientists, said Allen failed to deliver on promises of turning the plant into a major pharmaceutical center. "With money the Americans gave Allen, we could have built a big factory producing medicines," he complained.
In the meantime, U.S. nonproliferation experts were busy playing a cat-and-mouse game with Iran for the hearts and minds of Soviet weapons scientists. According to Pentagon officials, Iranian representatives launched an intensive effort to recruit Russian bioweapons makers, beginning in the spring of 1997, after the Russian ministry of science participated in a biotechnology exhibit in Tehran.
One place targeted for Iranian recruitment efforts was the Vector Institute in Novosibirsk, where scientists experimented with such contagious viruses as smallpox and Marburg, which causes its victims to bleed to death. According to Russian officials, the Iranians made a sophisticated pitch, insisting that their biotechnology program was strictly civilian. The approach was rejected, in large measure because the Russians understood that cooperation with Iran would mean an end to cooperation with the United States.
Weber said he understands the frustration of the former bioweapons makers. "Just 10 years ago, these people were a pampered elite, the recipients of extraordinary resources. Of course they feel a sense of dislocation." At the same time, he added, some of the "whining" may have been aimed at putting pressure on the U.S. to come up with more funds.Pentagon officials said most Stepnogorsk scientists with critical proliferation knowledge are receiving assistance from the United States through academic grant programs administered by the State Department and the Department of Energy. Galiyev, the former bioweapons maker, described the American programs as "miserly." The programs pay an average of $35 a day for original scientific research, a reasonable wage by Russian standards.For the time being, the Americans seem to be keeping the Iranians and others at bay. The Stepnogorsk plant will be torn down completely by the end of next year, but the long-term future of the scientists who work here and in other parts of the old Soviet bioweapons establishment remains uncertain.
"We don't want to cooperate with Iran. We're not stupid. We know what that would mean," said Repin, of the Vector Institute. But he added: "Of course, people need to feed themselves and their families. They will go to wherever the money is"
© 2000 The Washington Post Company
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International Wildlife / Sep/Oct2000, Vol. 30 Issue 5, p.12
Eagle On the Edge
- Lucille Craft a Tokyo-based correspondent for U.S. public radio and television
Александр Ладыгин - один из немногих ученых, кто изучает морских орлов на Камчатке. В советские времена, до середины 80-х годов, исследовательские работы в этом районе были запрещены. В итоге эту хищную птицу почти не изучали. Работы Ладыгина, а также работы российских ученых из других регионов и японских ученых позволят прояснить образ жизни морских орлов. По оценкам в настоящее время на побережье Охотского и Берингова морей и в бассейне Амура гнездится от 3,200 до 4,200 пар. Полуостров Камчатка - самый благоприятный район для размножения и зимовки птиц. Загрязнение окружающей среды, истощение рыбных ресурсов и туризм могут привести к исчезновению этого вида орлов уже через 50 лет.
Living in the forbidding terrain of Russia's Far East, Steller's sea eagle may be the most impressive raptor you've never heard of.
With the moon still high over Kuril Lake on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia's Far East, Alexander Ladyguin rises in the subzero darkness to light his log cabin's iron stove and prepare porridge. Ladyguin and his wife, Olga, eat quickly, then set off on skis over billowing snowdrifts to a tiny igloo next to a creek a few miles away.
Ladyguin (rhymes with paraffin) pulls a salmon from the creek, splits it open and arranges the morsel invitingly on a gravel bar beside the igloo. Then he and his wife shovel snow from the igloo's entrance and wriggle inside. Near a small opening, the lanky Moscow State University ornithologist arrays his camera, tripod, scope and notebook, and he and Olga swaddle themselves in sleeping bags and wait.
Shortly after dawn, a group of massive, white-shouldered birds glides over the lake in search of breakfast. Brushing snow from his notebook, Ladyguin watches as they descend to the gravel and begin feeding on the salmon. The birds are Steller's sea eagles, and although Ladyguin has been studying the species for more than a decade, the boyish-looking 33-year-old scientist still gapes in awe.
"Every bird is a mystery," says Ladyguin. "But to observe such a large, impressive bird very close and very often--that's amazing!"
Ladyguin is one of the few scientists to get such an intimate view of this striking raptor in its Russian habitat. Until recently, the forbidding and remote terrain of Russia's Far East, where Steller's eagles dwell, has kept scientists at bay. (A key military outpost during the Soviet era, Kamchatka was off-limits to scientists until the mid-1980s.) As a result, relatively little was known about this bird of prey. But Ladyguin's work--together with that of researchers in other areas of Russia and in northern Japan, where some of the birds winter--has allowed scientists to sketch a clearer portrait of Steller's sea eagle. As the bird comes into focus, disturbing facts emerge: Pollution, overfishing and even tourism are decimating eagles and could wipe out the species in the next 50 years.
One of eight varieties of sea and fish eagles, Steller's was named after German biologist Georg Steller, who explored Kamchatka and Alaska in the eighteenth century. Weighing as much as 20 pounds and with wings stretching 7 feet, the Steller's is among the largest of eagles--outweighing even its sizeable cousin the American bald eagle. Its imposing dimensions are matched by a strikingly patterned plumage, brown-black except for white tail, shoulders and crown.
But its prime anatomical advantage over other fish-eating birds is a large and deeply arched beak. Placing a Steller's beak beside that of a falcon, kite or osprey is like setting a hatchet beside a penknife. This lethal tool is ideal for feeding in Russia's Far East, where the hide of an adult sockeye salmon is so tough that native people use it for shoes and clothing. White-tailed eagles, which inhabit the same territory, may struggle for hours merely to pry an opening around a fish's gills or front fin. Only the Steller's eagle, with its stiletto talons and fearsome yellow beak, has the hardware to make quick work of leathery salmon skin.
Being a heavyweight in the bird kingdom has its disadvantages, however. A Steller's eagle can burn off an entire day's calories by flying for just 45 minutes. To husband their energy, eagles nest within easy striking distance of their prey in lakes, oceans and rivers. They also tend to glide, rather than flap, exploiting updrafts of warm air for lift. Steller's eagles also resort to "kleptoparasitism"--swiping fish from each other. "To steal a caught and opened fish is less 'expensive' in terms of energy," explains Ladyguin.
Scientists estimate there are a total of between 3,200 and 4,200 breeding pairs, distributed along the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea coasts and the basin of the Amur River. Kamchatka is the most eagle-friendly of all these areas and about a quarter of all Steller's eagles breed and winter here.
Buffeted by blizzards from October through May, Kamchatka seems hostile and barren, but it is actually a teeming oasis of wildlife supported by its vast fishery. Kuril Lake at the southern tip of the peninsula alone is the destination for as many as 8 million salmon during the spawning season, from July to March. This bounty sustains thousands of birds of various species through the long winter, including great groups of Steller's eagles.
Ladyguin first heard about gatherings of Steller's eagles at Kamchatka while he was a student in Moscow. But only a handful of scientific articles on the species had been published when he decided to make the eagles his thesis subject in 1986. In 1987, he and his wife moved to Kamchatka to undertake the first in-depth studies of the eagles there. He lived on the frosty peninsula until 1994, following the birds from their wintering feeding grounds at Kuril Lake to their summer breeding grounds 250 miles north at the Kronotskiy Biosphere Reserve. Since then, he has continued to observe the birds each summer.
From December to March, Ladyguin and his wife watched from their igloo as sea eagles fed at Kuril Lake. The birds roost communally in stands of birch and large rocks near the shore, flying out to the water to dive for fish. As spawning winds down and fish become scarce, the communal roost serves as a communications center. "Eagles flapping in a particular direction will soon catch the attention of the birds still in the roost, and the 'word' will spread," Ladyguin says.
In mid-March, Ladyguin followed the migrating eagles to their summer range at the Kronotskiy reserve, a 3,721-square-mile sanctuary that contains the Valley of the Geysers, a popular stop for American cruise ship tourists. There, Ladyguin set up blinds to watch the previously unrecorded nesting behavior of the sea eagles on Kamchatka.
Built in the crowns of trees as high as 70 feet, the nests have a nasty tendency to topple. And the only thing between a fragile egg and gale-force blizzards is its mother, which is probably why female eagles weigh as much as about 7 pounds more than males. Leaving the white or bluish eggs uncovered even briefly during the often frigid 36-day incubation period spells doom for the young. Of the eggs produced each year on Kamchatka only one-third to one-half will survive to fledging, not only because of exposure, but also because of predation by sable and collapsing nests.
Eagles supplement their favorite food, salmon, with edibles that wash onto the beach--sea cucumbers, octopuses and dead fish. By July, after the young have hatched, the salmon schools have moved inland, in such numbers that sometimes Ladyguin can't avoid hitting them with his canoe paddle. The scientist watches as eagles dive into the river, emerging laboriously moments later with silver salmon firmly in their talons. The birds fly to the nearest shallows, pin the fish to the ground and tear off and swallow several large chunks of flesh. Once sated, the eagles take the leftovers to their nests, where their offspring wait impatiently.
This gourmet diet of pure salmon is like a magic growth hormone. Ladyguin found that the downy 5-ounce nestlings multiply in weight 40 times in less than two months. This prepares them for the long flight to Kuril Lake and other points south, when the lakes in northern Kamchatka freeze over and lock up their food supply.
While Ladyguin was sketching in the details of the raptor's life in Kamchatka, other researchers were beginning to trace the route of the bird's travels to and from Russia. For years bird-watchers in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, had witnessed the arrival of Steller's eagles each November. But it wasn't until 1995, when Mutsuyuki Ueta, a researcher with the Wild Bird.
Society of Japan, and other scientists began attaching small transmitters to chicks at Russian nesting sites around the Sea of Okhotsk, that their migration was fully understood. Ueta and others were surprised to learn that few Kamchatkan eagles end up in Japan. Many of the nearly 2,000 wintering eagles in Hokkaido hailed from the Amur River area, with some traveling from as far north as Magadan, on the Russian mainland. In recent years, Japan has become merely a way station in the fall, as the eagles continue east to the fish-rich southern Kuril Islands off the coast of Hokkaido. But as snow and ice put the Kuril fish out of reach, the eagles fly back to Hokkaido for the remainder of the winter.
The few months before spring thaw are a struggle for the sea eagles. Most rivers on Hokkaido are fish-less because of weirs placed downstream to collect salmon. Eagles in the 1980s survived for a few years by consuming turbot, cod and walleye pollack either lost from fishing nets or discarded by fishermen. But as fisheries have declined in recent years, the eagles were left without a food source. Their response surprised bird experts.
Researchers downloading satellite data at Wild Bird Society of Japan headquarters in Tokyo were baffled one spring day in 1995 by the signals coming from one of the sea eagles. "We thought all Steller's eagles stayed near the ocean," recalls Ueta, "but we noticed one had moved inland and had stopped moving." The researcher dispatched a local colleague to investigate. He discovered the eagle consuming the remains of an Ezo deer, which scientists surmised had become the best option in the absence of fish. Later that year, scientists found the carcass of a Steller's eagle, poisoned by lead shot ingested from a deer abandoned by hunters. Since 1995,
more than 50 poisoned Steller's eagles have turned up on Hokkaido. "The actual number of these eagles dying and going undiscovered are likely many times the number recovered," writes Keisuke Saito, a Hokkaido-based ornithologist. "We suggest that this level of additional mortality would have a severe impact on the population size of the species and could lead to a serious decline."
Prodded by concerned citizens, Japan's Environment Agency announced a ban on lead shot starting in November 2001. Hokkaido hunters have been asked to switch to copper bullets voluntarily before the law takes effect. But because the ban is so limited in scope--on the island of Hokkaido it covers only deer, not bear, ducks or other game--and because there are no rangers to enforce it, Saito is skeptical that the action will help the eagle.
Ueta is more sanguine about the lead shot ban, but points out that other threats could wipe out Steller's eagle in just a few decades. He believes the eagle's natural food source should be restored, to reduce its dependence on unreliable and often contaminated human food sources. Scientists and outdoors enthusiasts are now urging
Hokkaido authorities to remove river fish-catching devices and restore the salmon runs. In response, some of these weirs have been dismantled.
Threats to Steller's eagles lurk outside of Japan, too. Autopsies on eagles in Hokkaido show PCB and DDT levels similar to those in raptors in North America and Europe, says Hajime Nakagawa of the Shiretoko Museum. Nakagawa found high levels of toxic chemicals in the industrial cities of Khabarovsk and Magadan, implicating those areas in the poisoning of the eagles. This contamination may be connected to increased sightings of dead chicks under nests in recent years, experts say.
Back on Kamchatka, the threat to eagles is more subtle, yet no less worrisome. A surge in tourists, hunters and fishermen has Ladyguin and other experts scrambling to come up with a management plan. Ladyguin says eagles require about 11 minutes of undisturbed feeding time in winter and four times that in summer (when food must also be obtained for eaglets) to meet their daily caloric needs. Merely the sight of people, however, often sends eagles fleeing from their feeding sites and thus poses a threat to survival. Trappers attack the eagles, which steal fur-bearing animals from traps. These and other human intrusions can prompt eagles to desert their nests, giving predators a chance to grab eggs or eaglets. The only solution, Ladyguin says, is to keep nesting and feeding areas off-limits to visitors.
The scientist recalls dusk on Kuril Lake, when the wintry winds had subsided and the lake's
resident symphony began its overture: the cawing of ravens and eagles, the trumpeting of swans and the gentle splashing of salmon. For a few sublime moments, Ladyguin felt he and Olga were a modern-day Adam and Eve. Unlike his Biblical counterparts, however, Ladyguin is painfully aware that for the sake of its larger-than-life eagles, this Garden of Eden must be defended.
© International Wildlife is the property of National Wildlife Federation
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ITAR-TASS / 08/31/2000
Russian scientist calls for closer interaction with NATO
Российский ученый Владимир Петровский призывает к более тесному сотрудничеству с НАТО в экстремальных ситуациях.
MOSCOW August 31 (Itar-Tass) -- A prominent Russian scientist on Thursday called for closer interaction between Russia and NATO in dealing with emergency situations.
"The tragic sinking of the Kursk submarine proves the necessity of full-scale working relations with NATO," Academician Vladimir Petrovsky, member of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, told Itar-Tass. "A Russian mission including a large number of various specialists should be working permanently in
Brussels," he said.
"Working military relations with the NATO countries concerning nuclear security and contacts in the specific - I mean naval - sphere should exist regardless of changes in the political situation. In particular, we need joint search and recue exercises to train scenarios dictated by the Kursk tragedy," the academician stressed.
© 1996-2000 ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved.
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Report: Space tourist to begin training in two weeks
Американский бизнесмен начнет тренировки для полета на космической станции Мир через две недели
MOSCOW Aug 31, 2000 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) -- The man billed as the first tourist in space will begin training for his flight in two weeks, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.
Pyotr Klimuk, head of the Gagarian Cosmonaut Training Center, told the news agency that U.S. businessman Dennis Tito would probably fly to Russia's Mir Space Station next summer. Russian doctors last week pronounced him fit to make the trip.
Tito has agreed to pay approximately dlrs 20 million to blast off with two Russian cosmonauts, according to MirCorp, a private company that arranged for the trip.
Tito is a former rocket scientist. His space voyage is one of several commercial projects intended to keep the 14-year-old Mir aloft once Russian government funding ends.
© Copyright 2000 Associated Press, All rights reserved
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/ Thursday September 14 7:43 AM ET
Even in Space, a Hammer Comes in Handy
Даже в космосе проблему можно решить с помощью молотка
CAPE CANAVERAL,Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. and Russian astronauts aboard the International Space Station learned a valuable lesson -- when history's most expensive science project has a problem, nothing works like beating it with a hammer.
The problem arose as American Daniel Burbank and Russian Boris Morukov, crewmen from the space shuttle Atlantis, which is on a supply and assembly run to the station, were working on the electrical systems on the Russian-built Zarya module.
They needed to remove four nutplates that were blocking their access to a floor panel. The tiny plates, as it turned out, had been secured by rivets, not screws. The rivets wouldn't budge. Burbank, an aeronautical scientist, and Morukov, a cardiologist, were flummoxed.
On Earth, some of the planet's top space engineers in both the United States and Russia began working on a solution. NASA (news - web sites)'s space station flight director, Mark Ferring, described such joint efforts Wednesday as "one big control center across the world."
Their solution was to get a hammer and half-inch chisel from a Russian tool kit.
"The crew did a little garage work. We proceeded to go whack at that a couple of times," said Ferring.
"Thanks for your ideas," Burbank radioed Earth. "It worked out real well."
Otherwise, there was not much communication between Mission Control and the seven Atlantis astronauts. Electrical work on both Zarya and the newly arrived Zvezda module consumed much of the day. The 20-ton Zvezda was launched in July without much of its hardware.
Atlantis and an unmanned Russian Progress cargo ship have ferried much of that missing hardware to the station. While one astronaut team installed batteries on Zvezda,Burbank and Morukov replaced batteries on Zarya that were nearing their useful lifetimes. Altogether, the crew will offload more than three tons of hardware supplies from the shuttle's pressurized cargo hold and the Progress before departing the station on Sunday. Once Atlantis departs, the station will be ready for its first long-duration crew, known as Expedition One, to arrive in November. From there, the United States, Russia and partners in Europe, Japan and Canada hope to keep the station staffed continuously. Atlantis commander Terrence Wilcutt, a Russellville, Ken. native, gave an orbital interview to Kentucky television stations. One reporter asked if he had to remind himself where he was when he woke up in the mornings.
"No. You're usually a few feet off the ground when you wake up. That reminds you where you are," Wilcutt said.
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