Mars Probe Finally Launched
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched its second Mars probe, “Opportunity,” July 7 aboard a Delta II rocket. The launch, originally scheduled for June 28, was delayed numerous times because of concerns with cork thermal insulation on Boeing‘s [NYSE: BA] Delta II rocket.
Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., occurred at 11:18:15 p.m. EDT. Approximately 80 minutes into the flight, the probe was deployed in its proper trajectory. The probe is scheduled to land on Mars Jan. 25, 2004. The first Mars rover, “Spirit,” was launched on June 10 by a Delta II and is scheduled to land on Mars Jan. 4, 2004.
The next Delta launch for NASA will be the SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility) mission aboard a Delta II heavy from Cape Canaveral in August.