Balloonist Back On Course

After suffering a minor setback, millionaire balloonist Steve Fossett is back on track in his quest to become the first person to travel around the world in a hot-air balloon.

Fossett burned his hand and skin after a fuel leak in two of four burners Saturday burst in flames, Correspondent Laura Nangle of CBS affiliate KMOV in St. Louis, Mo., reports.

Now, at mission control, the crew is less concerned about the injuries and more worried about getting all four burners up and running.

"The pilot light has been the main problem we have had. And that's an ongoing problem," says Alan Blount, mission-control director. "The problem with the burner pressure was a new problem."

By early Monday morning, the 54-year-old millionaire stockbroker had traveled more than 2,300 miles since lifting off from a soccer stadium in western Argentina on Friday evening. He was at 24,633 feet and drifting at 38 miles per hour, his control center at Washington University in St. Louis says.

He was a third of the way to South Africa, where he expected to pass just south of Cape Town. The trip was still on target and without problems, according to a spokeswoman.

To correct the fuel-leak problem, the crew has been communicating via computer with Fossett.

"We have had a number of messages going back and forth asking questions of Steve," Blount says. "What's it look like? Where are the problem areas? He's been replying to us. We're working through it together."

Fossett fixed one of the burners. Now three are up and running. "In terms of the mission, we're in good shape," adds Blount. "He needs one or two burners depending on the time of day. If we have three, we have redundancy."

Fossett is on schedule. And the weather, which dictates where the balloon goes, looks good.

"For the next four, five, maybe six days, it looks reasonably secure," says Bob Rice, mission meteorologist. "But this is weather we're talking about. So we'll hope for the best."

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