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February 01, 2004

More Terror Fears, More Flights Canceled

British Airways and Air France, both believed to have been targeted by terrorists in late December for possible hijackings, canceled seven flights to the US over the weekend, amid new fears that their aircraft would be used as guided weapons to destroy targets in America. BA canceled four flights between London's Heathrow Airport and Washington Dulles on Saturday and a flight from London to Miami on Sunday. Air France canceled two flights from Paris to Washington.

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Columbia's Version Of 'Arlington National Cemetery'

In stark contrast to the remains of the shuttle Challenger, debris from NASA's first space plane, Columbia, is not buried deep inside an abandoned missile silo. Instead, it is on display at Cape Canaveral, where reporters and photographers Friday were allowed to survey the wreckage. It's also where scientists believe they can still glean useful information on the fiery death of Columbia, one year ago Sunday. "Columbia was a great ship," said Michael Leinbach, launch director for the shuttle program. "We like to call this the Arlington Cemetery for Columbia."

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Remembering Columbia

"To this day, I have this lump in my gut that says 'how did you let this happen, what should you have done to prevent this' -- and I know you feel that way, too." Those words from Johnson Space Center director Jefferson Howell at a memorial Friday for the seven astronauts lost aboard the space shuttle Columbia February 1st, 2003. It was a somber, sometimes tearful remembrance for about a thousand people at JSC. Flags at both the Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers flew at half-mast to remember Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, Laurel B. Clark and Israel's first man in space, Ilan Ramon.

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One Year Later, Dittemore Scarred By Columbia Loss

In the days following the Columbia disaster last February, former shuttle program manager Ron Dittemore was in front of the cameras, talking to reporters, briefing the world on recovery efforts and the investigation into what caused the shuttle to disintegrate as it re-entered the atmosphere one year ago on Sunday. Dittemore was perhaps the most senior NASA official to take the fall after that disaster. He now works in an aerospace job for a private company based in Utah. Dittemore wonders why he didn't react more strongly when he saw a suitcase-sized chunk of insulating foam smack into Columbia's left wing about 80 seconds after lift-off on January 16th, 2003. "Why didn't the hair stand up on your neck?" he asks himself over and over again.

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Jon Clark's Terrible Wish

Six weeks before the shuttle Columbia launched from the Kennedy Space Center on its last, doomed mission, STS-107 astronaut Laurel Clark and her husband, NASA flight surgeon Jon, were flying along with their son, eight-year old Iain, in their Beechcraft Bonanza. They were headed from their home in Houston (TX) to Laurel's parents house in Albuquerque (NM) for Christmas when they ran into severe turbulence over West Texas. Laurel got airsick for the first time in her life. Jon tried to land the aircraft, but hit a strong wind shear on final. The B-36 was slammed onto the pavement, departed the runway and collided with an embankment. All three Clarks walked away from the accident unhurt, but the aircraft was completely destroyed. Now, Jon wishes they'd been killed in that incident.<

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Federal Judge Just Says No To Runway Opponents

Logan International Airport will get its new runway after all, if a federal appeals court decision holds. The court Friday called allegations made by runway opponents "meritless." Several opponents of the new runway had challenged the FAA's plans to build it, saying noise and air pollution hadn't been taken into proper consideration. The groups, which included the South Shore Jet Pollution Council and Communities Against Runway Expansion, also claimed the FAA didn't follow the rules in selecting a contractor to analyze the runway's environmental impact.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (02.01.04)

"To this day, I have this lump in my gut that says 'how did you let this happen, what should you have done to prevent this' -- and I know you feel that way, too." Source: Johnson Space Center director Jefferson Howell at a memorial Friday for the seven astronauts lost aboard the space shuttle Columbia February 1st, 2003. It was a somber, sometimes tearful remembrance for about a thousand people at JSC. Flags at both the Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers flew at half-mast to remember Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, Laurel B. Clark and Israel's first man in space, Ilan Ramon.

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Air Force Redesigns Web Site

The Air Force is unveiling a new look, feel and functionality for its official Web site Sunday. "Air Force Link, the service’s Web site, will have a cleaner, more modern look," said Leslie Benito, chief of news technology and project manager for the redesign for Air Force News Service, a part of the Air Force News Agency.

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