NASA launched its second Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, late
Monday night aboard a Delta II launch vehicle whose bright glare
briefly illuminated Florida Space Coast beaches.
Opportunity's dash to Mars began with liftoff at 11:18:15 p.m. Eastern
Daylight Time (8:18:15 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) from Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station, Fla.
The spacecraft separated successfully from the Delta's third stage 83
minutes later, after it had been boosted out of Earth orbit and onto a
course toward Mars. Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., received a signal from Opportunity at
12:43 a.m. Tuesday EDT (9:43 p.m. Monday PDT) via the Goldstone,
Calif., antenna complex of NASA's Deep Space Network.
All systems on the spacecraft are operating as expected, JPL's Richard
Brace, Mars Exploration Rover deputy project manager, reported.
More: NASA KSC -
Newly Launched 'Opportunity' Follows Mars-bound 'Spirit'
- Where are Opportunity and Spirit Now? Track the progress of Mars
Rovers' journeys to the Red Planet
Link: Cornell -
Informal, weekly mission news from the Principal Investigator at Cornell University