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May 03, 2015
KinetX Aerospace Navigates MESSENGER through Final Mission Phase
Simi Valley CA (SPX) May 03, 2015
KinetX Aerospace, the first commercial company to navigate any spacecraft to distant planetary bodies, announced that it has successfully guided the MESSENGER spacecraft through its final and perhaps most challenging mission phase. MESSENGER, a NASA spacecraft built and operated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), was launched in August 2004 and has been in orbit around the planet Mercury collecting data since March 2011. During all that time, KinetX has been responsi ... read more

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Altimeter Assists in MESSENGER's Low-Altitude Navigation
As NASA's MESSENGER mission draws to a close, an on-board science instrument that mapped the surface of Mercury is helping the navigation team with the spacecraft's low-altitude passes. MESSEN ... more
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Correction Maneuver Puts MESSENGER Right on Course
The MESSENGER team is pulling out all the stops to give the spacecraft life far beyond its original design. On April 8, mission operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory ( ... more
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Comms system critical to delaying MESSENGER's Mercury impact
MESSENGER's orbit-correction maneuver on April 6 was a nail biter. It was the 15th such maneuver since the spacecraft entered orbit about Mercury in 2011, and the third in a series of increasingly r ... more
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Planned Maneuver Further Extends MESSENGER Orbital Operations
MESSENGER mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., conducted a maneuver yesterday to raise the spacecraft's minimum altitude sufficiently ... more
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New explanation for Mercury's dark surface
Peering into space, the surface of Mercury appears dark and unreflective, an observation that has long puzzled planetary scientists due to the planet's very low surface abundance of iron (less than ... more
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Comet dust: Planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'
A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, the researchers suggest that a steady dusting of carbo ... more
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MESSENGER Completes 4,000th Orbit of Mercury
On March 25, the MESSENGER spacecraft completed its 4,000th orbit of Mercury, and the lowest point in its orbit continues to move closer to the planet than ever before. The orbital phase of the MESS ... more
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Hover Campaign Promises Bird's-Eye View of Mercury's Surface
MESSENGER will not go gentle into that good night. The mission will end sometime this spring, when the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surfac ... more
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New Mercury surface composition maps illuminate the planet's history
Two new papers from members of the MESSENGER Science Team provide global-scale maps of Mercury's surface chemistry that reveal previously unrecognized geochemical terranes - large regions that have ... more
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Latest MESSENGER data includes new targeted mosaics of Mercury
NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS) has released data collected from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission during its 37th through 42nd months in orbit ... more
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Maneuver Delays Messenger's Impact, Extends Orbital Operations
MESSENGER mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., successfully conducted a maneuver today designed to raise the spacecraft's minimum alti ... more
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Last Chance: Mercury Crater-Naming Contest Ends January 15
The MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Team is reminding interested parties that the competition to name five impact craters on Mercury closes on January 15, 2015. The contest, open to ev ... more
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Innovative use of Pressurant Extends Messenger's Mission
The MESSENGER spacecraft will soon run literally on fumes. After more than 10 years traveling in space, nearly four of those orbiting Mercury, the spacecraft has expended most of its propellant and ... more
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NASA is letting people name the craters of Mercury
The team behind NASA's Mercury orbiter, MESSENGER, has begun a competition to name the craters of Mercury. ... more
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MESSENGER Data Suggest Recurring Meteor Shower on Mercury
The closest planet to the sun appears to get hit by a periodic meteor shower, possibly associated with a comet that produces multiple events annually on Earth. The clues pointing to Mercury's ... more
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Third of Four Planned Maneuvers Extends Messenger Orbital Operations
Messenger mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., conducted the third of four maneuvers to raise the spacecraft's minimum altitude sufficiently ... more
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    Messenger Images Ice Near Mercury's North Pole
    NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft has provided the first optical images of ice and other frozen volatile materials within permanently shadow ... more
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    Planets with Oddball Orbits Like Mercury Could Host Life
    Mercury has an oddball orbit - it takes longer for it to rotate on its axis and complete a day than it takes to orbit the sun and complete a year. Now, researchers suggest photosynthesis could take ... more
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    12th Batch of Messenger Data Released; Water Ice Exploration Tool Unveiled
    Data collected during MESSENGER's 31st through 36th month in orbit around Mercury were released to the public by the Planetary Data System (PDS), an organization that archives and distributes NASA's ... more
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    MESSENGER Team Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Launch
    Ten years ago, on August 3, 2004, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a risky mission that would take the small satellite dangerously close to Mercury's surface ... more
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    Mercury's magnetic field tells scientists how its interior is different from Earth's
    Earth and Mercury are both rocky planets with iron cores, but Mercury's interior differs from Earth's in a way that explains why the planet has such a bizarre magnetic field, UCLA planetary physicis ... more
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    MESSENGER Gets Closer to Mercury than Ever Before
    On July 25, MESSENGER moved closer to Mercury than any spacecraft has before, dropping to an altitude at closest approach of only 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the planet's surface. "The sci ... more
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    Bepicolombo Integration Testing Completed At Thales
    Integration and functional testing activities for the protoflight models of the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter, Mercury Transfer Module, and Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield and Interface Str ... more
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    Planet Mercury a result of early hit-and-run collisions
    Planet Mercury's unusual metal-rich composition has been a longstanding puzzle in planetary science. According to a study published online in Nature Geoscience July 6, Mercury and other unusually me ... more
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