Feb 15

3U CubeSat integrated with Prox 1 (launched on Falcon Heavy / STP-2 mission)

LightSail-2 solar sailing demo (approx. date)
Apr 17


Northrop Grumman CRS mission #11 (NG-11, on Antares 230) (approx. date)
Aug 15

North American Eagle 800-mph supersonic car

World land speed record attempt (approx. date)
Nov 15


Northrop Grumman CRS mission #12 (NG-12, on Antares 230) (approx. date)


Spirit Rover on Surface of Mars; Robotic Arm Operations Next

2004 Jan 15

Nearly two weeks after landing on Mars, early on January 15 the Spirit rover was successfully commanded by its controllers at JPL to drive off its landing platform onto the surface of Mars. Confirmation that the move succeeded occurred less than an hour later as data and satisfying images flowed back from Mars.

From now on until the end of the expected months-long mission, Spirit will serve as a capable remote geologist as it traverses across the flats of Gusev Crater. Mission scientists have already decided to send the rover to explore a small crater about 250 meters northeast of the landing site and then head for some tantalizing hills about 3 km to the east.

Key to Spirit's surface science capability is its robotic arm — the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) — which will be commanded to place various science instruments and investigative devices at its tip onto rocks, soils and other surface features of interest to the science team.

The IDD was designed and built for JPL by Pasadena-based Alliance Spacesystems, Inc., and all IDD electrical test and checkout equipment was designed and built by Ecliptic under subcontract to ASI. Thre copies of the IDD and test equipment were delivered to JPL in early 2002.

Spirit's twin Opportunity — landing in about 9 days on the other side of the planet — is outfitted with an identical IDD system, and another IDD is used in the rover simulator lab at JPL.

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