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January 04, 2004

NASA Administrator Having A Good Day

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe regarding Saturday's successful landing of the first Mars Excursion Rover (MER), Spirit, on the Martian surface. "Congratulations to the Mars Rover team on achieving a successful landing on the surface of Mars by the Rover Spirit. This amazing feat, coming so soon in the New Year, is a tribute to the dedication to the many men and women throughout NASA and our many partners who worked extremely hard to give our amazing rovers the best chance for success on their mission of exploration on the Red Planet. "In a few weeks, Spirit's twin Opportunity will be landing on the other side of the planet. The rovers will soon begin their mission to search the rocks of Mars for signs that water may have been present for lo

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Chartered Plane Down Off Egyptian Coast

Search crews plow the waters off the Egyptian coast, hoping against hope they'll find survivors from an Air Flash 737-300 that went down shortly after take-off Saturday. But there is little cause for hope that any of the 148 people -- mostly French tourists -- on board have survived. Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry was quick to say the crash appeared to have been an accident, that there were no indications terrorism was involved. The French Deputy Transport Minister, Dominique Bussereau, said the pilot of FSH604 radioed shortly after take-off from Sharm el-Sheik that he had detected problems with the aircraft. There was little indication beyond that of the nature of the problems. The pilot reportedly tried to turn back for the airport, but didn't make it.

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BA Flight 223 Takes Off

After being canceled for two days in a row, British Airways Flight 223 from Heathrow to Dulles took off Saturday, as security officials in both Britain and the US said they were satisfied it was safe to fly. "The Department for Transport has confirmed to us that they are satisfied that it is safe for the aircraft to go," said an airline spokeswoman, on customary condition of anonymity. "Safety and security is our absolute priority and would not be compromised. We would not operate any flight unless we were satisfied it was safe to do so."

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Stardust Strikes Paydirt

The Stardust probe has done what it was designed to do -- a fitting tribute to any aircraft of spaceship. It went out to meet the comet Wild 2, made a hair-raising near pass at almost 14,000 mph. Operating more than 242 million miles from Earth, Stardust came within 149 miles of Wild 2 (pronounced Vilt 2), snapping photos like a mad tourist and scooping up tiny particles of what could be the original cake mix used to form the universe. "We have successfully collected samples from a comet and we're bringing them home," said Don Brownlee, of the University of Washington, the mission's main scientist.

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Unruly Passenger Disrupts Hawaii Flight

For all the extra security at airports over the holidays, the only serious threat to surface amid the hush-hush and the "nothing to see here" comments from Washington occurred -- not on a foreign flight, but on a domestic run from Detroit (MI) to Honolulu (HI). The suspect wasn't a foreign terrorist, but a 31-year old American from Tennessee, who allegedly told members of the flight crew he "needed to go to the cockpit."

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MO TFR: 01/05-01/06

VIP TFR For St. Louis NOTAM:  4/0047  Issued:  01/02/2004 20:08  Effective:  01/05/2004 19:20 - 01/06/2004 01:30  State:  MO  Facility:  ZKC - KANSAS CITY (ARTCC),MO.  Type:  VIP  Description:  ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, JANUARY 5, 2004 LOCAL. 

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LA TFR: 01/05-01/07

VIP TFR For Morgan City NOTAM:  4/0046  Issued:  01/02/2004 19:00  Effective:  01/05/2004 18:10 - 01/07/2004 23:50  State:  LA  Facility:  ZHU - HOUSTON (ARTCC),TX.  Type:  VIP  Description:  MORGAN CITY, LOUISIANA, JANUARY 5-7, 2004 LOCAL. 

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Say, Wasn't That The Airplane...

The State Department says it's investigating the aircraft involved in a deadly Christmas Day crash off the coast of Benin in West Africa, suggesting the same 727 was stolen from an airport in Angola last year. The US had been looking frantically for the 727, worried that it had been stolen by terrorists intent on using it to attack targets in America. The US even used satellites to image remote airfields, hoping to catch a glimpse of the wayward airplane. But it took a Canadian pilot flying for a humanitarian agency to spot the aircraft. Bob Strothers said he saw the same airplane on the ramp in Conark

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Dulles TSA Chief Hit With DWI Charge

Charles Brady, acting TSA chief at Washington Dulles International Airport (VA), is now on administrative leave after he was arrested at 3:00 am after a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officer spotted him driving erratically down Route 28 in Northern Virginia. TSA spokeswoman Jennifer Marty said it was obvious the 49-year old Brady wasn't where he was supposed to be doing what he was supposed to be doing. "Obviously it was New Year's, and obviously it was not only a chance to practice but to be on site during the holiday to make sure everything goes smoothly," Marty said. Asked who at the airport had indeed made sure everything went smoothly at that hour, Marty replied, "I couldn't tell you."

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (01.04.04)

"I'm glad we didn't know those were there. We would have been terrified." Source: Don Brownlee, University of Washington professor and main scientist on the Stardust Mission. Saturday, the spacecraft swept within 149 miles of the comet Wild 2, capturing stunning photographs and dust particles that could shed light on the origins of the solar system. One of the photos showed five distinct jets of primordial gas venting from the head of the comet. Stardust flew through two of them.

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MD-80 Off Runway In Pensacola

The good news is that nobody was hurt. The bad news is that someone has a big mess to clean up. A Delta MD-80 from Atlanta ran off the end of the runway at Pensacola Friday night. The flight carried 140 passengers and five crew members. The aircraft's landing gear sank in the soft dirt at the end of Runway 17. Otherwise, officials on the scene say there was no indication of damage. Still, they admit, getting the aircraft out of the dirt without causing structural damage to the MD-80 is, as the Brits say, a "real poser."

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'Spirit' Lives! Signal Indicates Safe Mars Landing

It's extraordinary news. NASA has confirmed that its Spirit Rover has reached the surface of Mars, as scheduled, at 2035 PM PST (2335 PM EST) Saturday. NASA's JPL has received early signals from the rover indicating that it survived the landing and is operating. We'll have more information as it is released.

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