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The blast at a Mojave Air and Space Port facility belonging to Scaled Composites LLC also left some toxic material, said Kern County fire Capt. Doug Johnston. All the victims worked for Scaled.

It was not known what exploded or how it happened. The accident involved nitrous oxide, but it was not known whether a rocket motor test was under way or whether it occurred during preparation for a test, fire Inspector Tony Diffenbaugh said.

Scaled is the Mojave-based builder of SpaceShipOne, the first private manned rocket to reach space, and is developing a successor for the new space tourism business Virgin Galactic.


TB patient released from hospital

DENVER — The tuberculosis patient who created an international health scare when he flew to Europe for his wedding was released yesterday from a hospital after successfully completing inpatient treatment, officials said.

Andrew Speaker, an Atlanta lawyer whose TB strain was resistant to multiple drugs, underwent surgery on July 17 to remove a diseased portion of his right lung.

The doctors who treated him at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver don’t consider him completely cured, but the lung operation and antibiotic treatments “have eliminated any detectable evidence of infection,” the hospital said. Mr. Speaker will need to continue antibiotic treatment for about two years.

Hospital spokesman William Allstetter said yesterday that Mr. Speaker left Denver in an air ambulance and returned to Georgia to recuperate.


New Mexicans allowed same-sex ‘marriage’

BOSTON — Homosexual couples from New Mexico can “marry” in Massachusetts because their home state has not explicitly banned same-sex “marriage,” Massachusetts officials say.

New Mexico and Rhode Island are the only states whose homosexual residents can get licenses in Massachusetts, the only state that performs same-sex “marriages.” Neither Rhode Island nor New Mexico has said it will recognize the union after its residents return home.

Stanley Nyberg, Massachusetts’ Registrar of Vital Records, instructed city and town clerks in a July 18 notice to give “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples from New Mexico.


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