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Digest

Five shuttle launches may be too many

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 11, 2007


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NASA's goal of five space shuttle missions this year may be too ambitious, the new director of Kennedy Space Center said Wednesday. Former shuttle program manager Bill Parsons, who last week took over as head of the space center, said the logistical hurdles may be too high to make the schedule of shuttle launches set for March, June, September, October and December. The problem is NASA's ability to get each of the three shuttles in shape to fly again so soon after each returns home from space. All the shuttle flights are geared toward finishing construction of the international space station, which is to be completed by 2010 when the shuttle program ends.

Sentence given in Rita bus accident

The owner of the bus that exploded during the Hurricane Rita evacuation, killing 23 elderly evacuees, was sentenced Wednesday to five years of probation for mismanaging his fleet. As part of his probation, a judge ruled, Global Limo Inc. owner James Maples can no longer work for any bus company. He will be confined for the first year - six months in a halfway house and six months at home with electronic surveillance - though he will be allowed to work. Maples was acquitted Oct. 3 of the most serious charge of conspiring to falsify driver time logs. He was convicted of the two lesser allegations, of poorly managing his fleet and not requiring drivers to fill out vehicle inspection reports. Maples was fined $10,000, and his since-dismantled company was fined $100,000 and placed on probation for five years.

Court reconsiders Padilla charges

A federal appeals court is weighing whether to restore the only charge against alleged al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla that carries a sentence of up to life in prison. Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, is charged with being part of a North American cell that provided cash, supplies and recruits to Islamic extremists. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday heard arguments over the dropped charge, conspiracy to "murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country." A judge dismissed that charge in August after ruling it duplicated two other terrorism-support counts against Padilla and two co-defendants.

10 injured when truck hits bus, van

A semitrailer truck collided with a school bus and a van early Wednesday, knocking the bus into a cornfield and injuring 10 people, school officials said. Seven students on the bus were treated for broken bones and cuts, and two students who had been in the van were expected to be held in the hospital overnight, said Robert Urzillo, superintendent of the Conrad Weiser School District. The bus driver was hospitalized with a broken pelvis.

 

[Last modified January 11, 2007, 01:29:45]


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