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.
Opportunitys 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 Deltas third stage 83 minutes later, after it had been boosted out of Earth orbit and onto a course toward Mars. Flight controllers at NASAs 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 NASAs Deep Space Network.
Guy Webster | NASA
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