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December 31, 2003

ANN's 2003 Stories of the Year #1: Columbia Down!

Goodbye, Columbia It was deja vu all over again. Much of America woke up on February 1st only to discover that Columbia, the country's first fully-functional space shuttle, had disintegrated in orbit over Texas as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere. For ANN Associate Editor Pete Combs, it was a trial by fire. That first Saturday in February was his first day on the job. Living in Dallas (TX) at the time, Combs heard the sonic boom that accompanied Columbia's destruction. Moments later, he and Correspondent Rob Milford were on the phone as Milford sped south to the debris field.

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ANN's 2003 Stories of the Year #9: Taking Space By Private Storm

The past year has seen a lot of bad aviation news, but a bright and shining hope in the form of the first private ventures into space. Thanks to the $10-million X-Prize competition, more than two dozen teams from around the world are trying to get their own version of a reusable space vehicle 60-miles above the Earth to become the first privately-run space operation. Few stand a better chance to being first than Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan's Mojave (CA) operation.

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