January 4, 2001

2001 : A C-17 Globemaster III from the 315th Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, S. C., flew the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft from Buckley AFB, Colo., to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The mission was named as a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke, evoking the name of his and Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and reached Mars orbit on October 24, 2001, at 02:30 UTC (October 23, 19:30 PDT, 22:30 EDT). On May 28, 2002 (sol 210), NASA reported that Odyssey’s GRS instrument had detected large amounts of hydrogen, a sign that there must be ice lying within a meter of the planet’s surface, and proceeded to map the distribution of water below the shallow surface. The orbiter also discovered vast deposits of bulk water ice near the surface of equatorial regions.