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SICK 'ATLANTIS' ASTRONAUT BETTER, READIES REPLACEMENT

Shuttle Atlantis' sick German astronaut looked and sounded well Sunday as he helped a crewmate prepare for a space walk that should have been his.

In an unusual move, NASA pulled Hans Schlegel off the space walk to help install the European lab, Columbus, at the international space station, and delayed the work until today, one day later than planned.

Schlegel, 56, a physicist and former paratrooper, was fine for Thursday's liftoff but became ill in orbit, European Space Agency officials said, adding the condition was neither life-threatening nor contagious.

Though he did not look sick, space walks are strenuous and an astronaut needs to be in top form, they said.

The hope is Schlegel will be well enough to take part in Wednesday's space walk, the second of three planned for Atlantis' space station visit.

He was sidelined Saturday, shortly after the shuttle reached the station.

"We're all keeping our fingers crossed for him to get better soon," radioed Europe's Mission Control near Munich, Germany. Schlegel has flown only once before in space, in 1993.

NASA refused to give additional details, citing medical privacy. But it's common knowledge that most astronauts suffer from space motion sickness during their first few days in orbit.

Flight director Mike Sarafin said unless he hears otherwise from flight surgeons, Wednesday's space walk will take place as planned with Schlegel.

As for today's outing, none of the work has been altered because of the switch in crew. "The only difference is who's going out the hatch," Sarafin said.

Schlegel huddled Sunday with his replacement, American Stanley Love, and the other space walker, American Rex Walheim, as they got their equipment ready for today's 61/2- hour outing.

Love had trained as a backup for the space walk and was assigned to the mission's third outing.

NASA scrambled to rearrange the flight plan for the rest of the flight, now 12 days long. Mission managers added a day because of the space walk delay.

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