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On February 1, while gliding back to Earth after a successful 16-day scientific research mission (STS-107), the space shuttle Columbia experiences a catastrophic reentry accident at an altitude of about 63 km over the Western United States. Traveling at 18 times the speed of sound, the orbiter vehicle disintegrates, taking the lives of all seven crew members: six American astronauts (Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, and David Brown) and the first Israeli astronaut (Ilan Ramon).

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit is launched by a Delta II rocket to the Red Planet on June 10. Spirit, also known as MER-A, arrives safely on Mars on January 3, 2004 and begins its teleoperated surface exploration mission under the supervision of mission controllers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NASA launches the second Mars Exploration Rover, called Opportunity, using a Delta II rocket launch, which lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 7, 2003. Opportunity, also called MER-B, success fully lands on Mars on January 24, 2004, and starts its teleoperated surface exploration mission under the supervision of mission controllers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Telescopes Mastery

Telescopes Mastery

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