It was bound to happen: Cyberspace meets outer space.

For the first time, NASA is providing public computer access to virtually all aspects of a space shuttle flight via the Internet, including occasional exchanges with Endea-vour's seven astronauts and continuous updates on their astronomical observations.Computer users can even "Come Aboard," and receive pictures and audio tapes of the crew.

It's causing a cyberspace stampede.

More than 350,000 requests for mission information have poured in since Endeavour blasted off Thursday.

A sampling of computer messages from people logging on around the world:

"One small step for NASA, one giant step for the `Net.' "

"Absolutely amazing, beam me up!"

"This was great, I didn't even get airsick."

"Godspeed Endeavour! I always wanted to say that."

Becky Bray, a payload activity controller at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is leading the "Welcome to Astro-2" effort. Astro is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's name for the three ultraviolet telescopes aboard Endeavour; this is their second space flight.

"We're pretty out there in the realm of my wildest dreams," Bray said Sunday.

An engineer in Bray's software branch tapped into the Internet at work last summer, about the time NASA's public affairs office went online with news releases. The next thing Bray knew she was organizing NASA's first online shuttle mission.

NASA scientist Robert Stachnik calls it "a virtual reality tour of the shuttle."

"It's an opportunity to share our excitement in this exploration," he said.

Among the information available on the World Wide Web: Endeavour's exact location over Earth, stellar observations by the Astro telescopes and sky charts, crew and ground control team photographs, snapshots of the cockpit, taped conversations from four of the astronauts, even NASA-TV broadcasts of the mission that appear in a one-inch square.

About the only thing missing is a live view out the shuttle windows.

"The technology is there," Bray said. "We'd like to do that, but it's always the dollar sign."

As always, the astronauts' medical conferences and family conversations are private.

Questions from computer users, many of them youngsters, range from astronaut pay and stellar discoveries to provisions for a shuttle search and rescue operation "if the need, heaven forbid, arises." Each inquiry is directed to a ground controller or scientist who responds by computer. Bray periodically sends up a question for the astronauts to answer.

There have been complaints. One woman in Florida griped about the deaths of a great horned owl and three hatchlings at the launch pad when Endeavour lifted off. Another questioned whether all this money might be better spent on food for the poor.

Note: Internet users can access "Welcome to Astro-2" by typing:

http:/ OR: http:(slash,slash)