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March 11, 2003

Glenn Mahone/Doc Mirelson
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: 202/358-1600

Kelly Humphries
Lufkin Command Center, Texas
Phone: 936/699-1019

Traci Bowen
Texas Forest Service
Phone: 979/218-3035

Eileen Hawley
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Phone: 281/483-5111


Media Invited to Visit Columbia Recovery Air Search Operations Base

News media representatives are invited to visit the Angelina County Airport operations base for Space Shuttle Columbia recovery air searches on Friday, March 14, 2003, in Lufkin, Texas.

Reporters are invited to meet the Texas Forest Service’s air search coordinator, visit the facilities where helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are serviced and prepared, witness a day’s pre-flight briefing and the pilots’ pre-flight checkout of their aircraft. There will not be an opportunity for reporters to fly in any of the aircraft, however, a location will be designated where reporters may film air search operations from the ground.

Media wishing to attend must contact the Joint Information Center (JIC) at Lufkin, Texas, no later than noon CST Thursday, March 13. Calls should be directed to the JIC at 936-699-1019 or 936-699-1094. Faxes should be sent to 936-631-3773. Media will receive specific instructions on where to meet when they call to confirm their participation. Weather could affect some of the planned opportunities.

The opportunity is expected to last approximately two hours. While at the air search operations base, media representatives will be expected to follow the safety directions of the air search coordinator and stay with the escorts provided.

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text-only version of this release