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Dwayne Brown/Renee Juhans

Headquarters, Washington, DC July 26, 2000

(Phone: 202/358-1726/1712)

RELEASE: 00-115



Experts in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and

general science proclaimed yesterday that the International Space
Station moves to the "head of the class" compared to the Spacelab
and Mir programs.

"Research opportunities in the biomedical field during those

past space programs have been very limited," said Dr. J. Milburn
Jessup, Professor of Surgery, University of Texas Heath Science
Center. "The International Space Station will offer scientists a
lab that could provide an opportunity to study and gain better
understanding of bone and muscle loss, balance disorders, and cell
and tissue reproduction," he said.

"We found in two short shuttle flights that fewer cells

cultured in space died than similar cells cultured on the ground.
This in essence could improve the process of understanding death
of the human body," said Jessup.

Jessup was one of five researchers participating in the first

in a series of International Space Station media forums NASA will
hold as the Agency and its international partners move into high
gear for construction and research on the infant space platform.
The forum was held hours prior to the successful docking of
Russia's Zvezda module.

According to the panelists, the International Space Station

will provide scientists with continual access and long-term
exposure in space, coupled with state-of-the art equipment
-- a combination, they agreed, that could provide untold multiple
benefits to humankind.

"The Hubble Space Telescope is to astrophysicists as the

International Space Station will be to other researchers -- a
working science laboratory in space," said Dr. Julie Swain, acting
NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Life and Microgravity
Science and Applications, Washington, DC, and Professor of
Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Kentucky.

"The Mir and Spacelab programs provided only a glimpse. The

International Space Station offers the opportunity to conduct
research 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," said Dr. Mary Musgrave,
Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and
Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Ron Sega, Dean, College of Engineering and Applied

Science, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and a former
astronaut, noted that the International Space Station is also a
research tool for engineering. "Knowledge obtained from this
station will help us build the next generation of satellites,
which may lead to further commercial applications of space.

"International Space Station engineering research will

certainly enhance technology development outside the space
station," he said.

Dr. Kathryn Clark, Senior Scientist for the International

Space Station, noted that research of this magnitude does not
happen overnight. However, the International Space Station will
be a vital platform for providing greater insight into
understanding the human body, exploring the universe, studying the
Earth and atmospheric changes, and improving the overall quality
of life on Earth.

"The International Space Station is the essential test-bed in

which questions in these areas may be answered," Clark said.

The International Space Station is the largest and most

complex international project in history. Led by the United
States, the project draws upon the scientific and technological
resources of 16 nations.