Out in space, in a dual payload mission for NASA, a Boeing Delta II rocket successfully launched the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) and the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer Satellite (CHIPSat) on Jan. 12, 2003. Six months later, Boeing products began the journey to Mars when Mars Exploration Rover-A (MER-A) Spirit was successfully deployed to space by a Boeing Delta II rocket; on July 7, 2003, a Delta II launched the second NASA rover headed for Mars. Spirit successfully sent a radio signal home on Jan. 3, 2004 -- after the spacecraft had bounced and rolled for several minutes following its initial impact.
Tragically, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded on Feb. 1, 2003, as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere. Nobody aboard survived. Boeing worked closely with NASA and the United Space Alliance in their investigation of the tragedy. After five months of examination, it was determined that Columbia had a breach in its left wing, inflicted some 16 days earlier by a breakaway chunk of foam, 81.7 seconds after liftoff. The program was suspended until Space Shuttle Discovery returned to flight on July 26, 2005.
Boeing 307 Stratoliner leaves for Washington, D.C.
In the business world, new acquisitions included Conquest Inc., a premier provider of enterprise architecture, systems engineering and software technology solutions to the intelligence community. The unit became Boeing Advanced Information Systems -- Maryland Operations, a department of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.
During 2003, two classic Boeing planes made their last flights en route to their resting places at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a companion facility to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. The 307 Stratoliner soared from Boeing Field in Seattle on July 27, followed by the Dash 80 (367-80) on Aug. 24.
Dash 80 takes off for National Air and Space Museum
Three years later, after 64 unprecedented flights and numerous firsts in autonomous combat aviation, on Oct. 2, 2006, the two Boeing X-45A Joint Unmanned Combat Air System vehicles also were placed on display, one in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and the other in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Company leadership changed on Dec. 1, 2003, when Boeing announced its board of directors had accepted the resignation of Phil Condit as chairman and CEO. Lewis E. Platt was named non-executive chairman and Harry C. Stonecipher became president and CEO of The Boeing Company. Stonecipher resigned in March 2005 and James A. Bell, executive vice president and chief financial officer, served as interim Boeing president and chief executive officer through June 2005. On July 1, 2005, W. James (Jim) McNerney Jr., Boeing board member and formerly chairman of the board and CEO of 3M Co., became chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer for The Boeing Company.
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