The second Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B), nicknamed "OPPORTUNITY," finally gets off the ground after nine days of delays on 7 July 2003 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The first launch attempt at 10:35 p.m. was missed due to a possible valve problem on the first stage but the second attempt at 11:18 p.m. has the Delta 2 rocket hurling the second rover on its way to the planet Mars to follow MER-A launched previously on 10 June 2003. UPDATE 25 January 2004 "Opportunity has touched down in a bizarre, alien landscape," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the science instruments on Opportunity and its twin, Spirit. "I'm flabbergasted. I'm astonished. I'm blown away."