Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



Messenger Ships To The Cape

illustration only
Laurel - Mar 10, 2004
NASA's Messenger spacecraft left home in Maryland today for Cape Canaveral, Fla., site of its scheduled May 11 launch toward Mercury and the first study of that planet from orbit.

Secured in an air-conditioned moving van, Messenger set out from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt and will reach Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tomorrow, March 10. Messenger - short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging - spent the past three months being baked, frozen, spun, shaken and probed in Goddard's test facilities, experiencing the conditions of launch and its upcoming five-year journey to the innermost planet.

Over the next several weeks, engineers from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., where Messenger was designed and built, will prepare the spacecraft for launch at the Astrotech Space Operations facility near Kennedy Space Center.

Other team members will continue to test the spacecraft's key operating systems remotely from the Messenger Mission Operations Center at APL.

Set for a predawn launch aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket, Messenger will fly past Venus three times and Mercury twice before starting its yearlong orbital study of Mercury in July 2009.

The Venus flybys, in November 2004, August 2005 and October 2006, use the planet's gravity to guide Messenger toward Mercury's orbit. Mercury flybys in October 2007 and July 2008 further tune Messenger's path and allow the spacecraft to gather data critical to planning the mission's orbital phase.

The compact 1.2-ton spacecraft features several defenses against the intense heat and bright sunlight at Mercury, including a ceramic-fabric sunshade and a heat-radiation system.

The mission's orbit design will also keep Messenger cooler by allowing it to pass only briefly through heat reflecting off the hottest spots on Mercury's surface, where temperatures can exceed 840 degrees Fahrenheit (450 degrees Celsius).

Messenger is the next launch in NASA's Discovery Program of lower cost, highly focused space science investigations. Sean C. Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington leads Messenger as principal investigator; APL manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science.

Related Links
Messenger at APL
SpaceDaily
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

SwRI Goes Suborbital In Search Of Mercury And The "Vulcanoids"
Boulder - Jan 27, 2004
A new major scientific payload flew in space last week after launching aboard a NASA suborbital Black Brant rocket. The payload, consisting of a telescope/spectrometer combination and an image-intensified imaging system, successfully explored the ultraviolet spectrum of the planet Mercury and also searched for the long-sought belt of small bodies called Vulcanoids that may lie even closer to the Sun than Mercury. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) provided the payload and is responsible for data analysis.



Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only






Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.