Prev Next  


End of the 20th Century Flight Timeline

2002-2003 Flight Timeline

All seven of the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia perished in the tragic loss of the Columbia on February 1, 2003.
All seven of the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia perished in the tragic loss of the Columbia on February 1, 2003.
McDonnell Douglas Aerospace

January 21, 2002 The Gulfstream V offers a new Enhanced Vision System for low-visibility approaches.

January 28, 2002 Ryanair orders 100 Boeing 737-800 jets.


January 29, 2002 The Frontier Systems A160 Hummingbird rotor-craft UAV makes its first flight.

February 27, 2002 The Cessna Sovereign makes its first flight.

March 1-12, 2002 The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia performs on-orbit service and repairs of the Hubble Space Telescope.

March 22, 2002 The first production Eurocopter Tiger is rolled out.

March 25, 2002 A Chinese Long March 2F launches an unpiloted Shenzhou III; China announces its intention to launch a human in 2003.

April 8, 2002 The USAF announces its intention to lease 100 new Boeing 767 tankers; Congress has other ideas.

April 26, 2002 Sukhoi wins the battle for a follow-on fighter in Russia.

April 26, 2002 The British consider using the X-45 as a means to develop UCAV.

May 22, 2002 The Boeing X-45A UCAV makes its first flight.

May 31, 2002 The Toyota single-engine four-seat aircraft makes its first flight.

June 1, 2002 The prototype of the Aero Vodochody L159B Advanced jet trainer makes its first flight.

June 15, 2002 The Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk completes its 1,000th combat flight hour in Operation Enduring Freedom.

June 19-July 3, 2002 Steve Fossett flies from Northam, West Australia, to Lake Yamma Yamma, Queensland, in 14 days and 19 hours. It is the first solo nonstop round-the-world balloon flight.

June 25, 2002 Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman win an $11 billion contract to upgrade Coast Guard forces.

June 26, 2002 The Royal Australian Air Force accepts its first Boeing BBJ (Boeing Business Jet).

July 1, 2002 The Pilatus PC-21 military trainer makes its first flight.

July 4, 2002 General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., the Air Force's first black general, dies at Walter Reed Army Medical Center at age 89.

July 19, 2002 The Northrop Grumman X-47A Pegasus UAV completes initial low-speed taxi tests at China Lake, California.

July 20, 2002 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets are deployed to the USS Abraham Lincoln. It is the aircraft's first deployment.

July 21, 2002 The Boeing YAL-1A Airborne Laser (ABL) makes its first flight.

July 27, 2002 A Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter crashes into an air show crowd, killing 83 and injuring 200.

August 20, 2002 The Lockheed Martin Aero T-50 trainer makes its first flight.

August 26, 2002 Eclipse Aviation's six-seat friction-welded Eclipse 500 makes its first flight.

October 7, 2002 The USAF announces that direct-energy technology is ready to be used as weaponry.

October 20, 2002 An improved Soyuz TMA-1 spacecraft is launched to the International Space Station. Rock singer Lance Bass was scratched from the mission when he failed to come up with the price of the ticket: $20 million.

October 28, 2002 Boeing unveils its Bird of Prey (BOP) demonstrator aircraft, used to indicate what the next generation of stealth technology may be. The aircraft flew more than 40 hours.

November 4, 2002  NASA announces that the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), the last of the "four great observatories," will be launched in 2003.

November 4, 2002 The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency announces that its Wasp microair vehicle flew for 107 minutes.

November 11, 2002 The first EADS TBM 700 C2 single turboprop aircraft is delivered.

November 23-December 7, 2002 The Space Shuttle Endeavor brings the Expedition 6 crew to the International Space Station.

December 9, 2002 Diamond Aircraft Twinstar makes its first flight.

December 9, 2002 United Airlines files for bankrupcy protection. It joins USAirways and several other U.S. airlines.

December 12, 2002 The Galileo spacecraft begins transmitting data from its flyby of Jupiter's tiny moon Amalthea, which took place on November 5.

December 14, 2002 Japan makes its fourth straight successful H-IIA medium-lift rocket, putting the second Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (Adeos-2) into a 500-mile polar orbit.

December 23, 2002 Iraq shoots down a U.S. Predator spy plane.

January 16, 2003 The Space Shuttle Columbia is launched. The crew includes: Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, Laurel B. Clark, and Ilan Ramon.

February 1, 2003 The Space Shuttle Columbia breaks up during reentry into the earth's atmosphere; all seven astronauts perish.