CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ The astronauts aboard space shuttle Endeavour took part in Sunday's national bell-ringing ceremony marking President-elect Clinton's inauguration.

NASA's flight controllers briefly interrupted their work inside Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to shake small bells.

Although the five Endeavour astronauts were asleep when the bells pealed coast-to-coast Sunday night, they participated via a videotape they beamed down to Mission Control on Friday. National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials gave the videotape to the inauguration committee for broadcast.

At 6 p.m. EST, as bells rang everywhere, the astronauts were shown ringing a small replica of the Liberty Bell. They released the bell, and it floated away.

''As Americans, we take pride in joining others around the country in ringing a bell of hope for the future,'' shuttle commander John Casper said. ''Our hope is for peace and security throughout the world, prosperity and opportunity within our nation, and continued leadership in space exploration.''

Replied Clinton, who watched the videotape on a screen in Washington: ''I always wanted to bring the country together. I never thought that we could bring the nation and the heavens together.''