Boeing Bats 2 For 2
Boeing [NYSE: BA] launched two spacecraft Tuesday within hours of each other from different vantage points on the globe.
In an early morning launch (6:56 a.m. PDT) from the equator, Boeing’s Sea Launch venture lifted the Thuraya-2 telecommunications satellite aboard a Zenit-3SL rocket from the sea-based launch platform in the Pacific Ocean. The Boeing-built satellite was launched for Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications of Abu Dhabi, UAE. The satellite was acquired approximately one hour and 40 minutes after lift-off, with preliminary orbit data indicating a successful placement at the 44 degrees East Longitude orbital slot.
Less than four hours later, a Boeing Delta II rocket launched the Mars Exploration Rover A probe from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., during an instantaneous launch window of 1:58:47 p.m. EDT. The first of two scientific missions for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the probe named “Spirit” separated from the Delta II launch vehicle after 37 minutes and began its seven-month journey to Mars.
The second of the Mars missions, Mars Exploration Rover B, or “Opportunity,” is scheduled to launch on June 25 from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta II heavy launch vehicle. Boeing has successfully launched all of NASA’s Mars probes and rovers aboard Delta II launch vehicles.