In 2003, Ewart-Ohlson completed a contract with Pioneer Aerospace and General Dynamics to machine the mortar tubes for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The mortar tubes were part of the parachute deployment system which helped guide each of the landers to the Martian surface. Mars Explorer Rover "A", nicknamed "Spirit", launched from Cape Canaveral on June 10, followed by MER - B, "Opportunity," on July 7. After two flawless touchdowns, Spirit and Opportunity both rolled off their landers and are continuing to send back fascinating pictures and data from the surface of Mars. You can follow the progress of both rovers at the JPL/NASA Mars Exploration Rover website — and don't miss the video simulation of the landing available on the Athena Payload website!