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#1 2004-07-03 07:34:07

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

*Yippee!  smile  Made it safe to Florida.  Blast-off July 30.  Goes into orbit around Mercury in 2011 (yeah, I know...the wait <frown>).

This is from space.com's "Astronotes" (column format/frequent updates...must copy and paste):

***
July 2

Headed for a Hot Time: Mercury-bound Probe

NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft is undergoing final preparation for a July 30 liftoff.

Called MESSENGER for short, the probe will be the first to study Mercury up-close since a trio of Mariner 10 flybys in 1974-1975.

Following departure atop a Boeing Delta 2 rocket late this month from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, MESENGER will fly past Earth once, Venus twice and Mercury three times – then go into orbit around Mercury for a year-long study of the Sun’s closest planet in March 2011.

During the flybys, MESSENGER will map nearly all of Mercury in color, imaging most of the areas unseen by Mariner 10, and chart the composition of the planet’s surface, atmosphere and magnetosphere. The flybys are to help plan MESSENGER’s year-long orbital mission.

MESSENGER was built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
***

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#2 2004-07-03 08:28:50

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid7]Fantastic  smile

*Great photos!  Wow...

This article says MESSENGER will lift-off on August 2 (unlike July 30 in previous article).  :hm: 

Pics show 2 solar arrays undergoing cleaning inspections and voltage checks.  The panels are supplemented with nickel-hydrogen batteries which will provide MESSENGER'S power. 

Lots of other good info. 

I love the orderliness and precision of science.  Should be *me* in those photos, working on MESSENGER!  sad

--Cindy  smile[/color:post_uid7]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#3 2004-07-03 14:23:22

remcook
Banned
Registered: 2004-01-07
Posts: 78

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]they have some animations of the assembly on the messenger website:

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/

this is more engineering than science by the way[/color:post_uid0]

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#4 2004-07-04 04:52:09

Yang Liwei Rocket
Member
Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid3]There is another mission also

it looks like Europe and Japanese want to go there aswell, you can read about it at the ESA website. The EU is planning to deign a good craft with japan in the project with them.

The journey from Earth to Mercury will also be a first. The spacecraft must brake against the Sun's gravity, which increases with proximity to the Sun, rather than accelerate away from it, as is the case with journeys to the outer Solar System. BepiColombo will accomplish this by making clever use of the gravity of the Moon, Venus and Mercury itself and by using solar electric propulsion (SEP). This innovative combination of low thrust space propulsion and gravity assist will be demonstrated by ESA's technology mission, SMART-1.

When approaching Mercury, each spacecraft will use the planet's gravity plus a conventional rocket engine to insert itself into a polar orbit. Observations from orbit will continue for one Earth year.

Whilst the precise details of the BepiColombo mission are being defined, key technologies are under development at ESTEC, ESA's technical centre in the Netherlands.


[/quote:post_uid3]

2 orbiting craft into one mission probe to Mercury, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), and the Japanese space agency ISAS/JAXA will contribute the other, the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) into the Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo mission a new deep-space probe using electric propulsion.

http://sci.esa.int/science....id_2=30


I think NASA's  MESSENGER probe will go there first and arrive earlier, but we shall see which missions go ahead

yikes[/color:post_uid3]


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

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#5 2004-07-04 07:57:51

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid7]

There is another mission also

it looks like Europe and Japanese want to go there aswell, you can read about it at the ESA website. The EU is planning to deign a good craft with japan in the project with them. ...

I think NASA's  MESSENGER probe will go there first and arrive earlier, but we shall see which missions go ahead


yikes[/quote:post_uid7]
*Thanks for sharing this information, YLR.  smile

The more the merrier!  Best wishes to Europe and Japan on these plans.  smile

--Cindy[/color:post_uid7]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#6 2004-07-07 06:43:29

bolbuyk
Member
From: Utrecht, Netherlands
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 178

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid1]Great, I was afraid this planet was forgotten. Yet it's beside Pluto the only planet which surface we do not know entirely.

Really a complicated route to the planet, BTW.[/color:post_uid1]

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#7 2004-07-07 10:16:00

REB
Banned
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 555
Website

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Maybe we can finally get the whole planet photographed.

I am glad to see this. I predict that, after humans are established in space, Mercury becomes an industry center.

On a side note, Mercury gives me the feel of a moon rather than a planet. Unlike Titan, which gives me the feel of a planet. Maybe it is the atmosphere factor.[/color:post_uid0]


"Run for it? Running's not a plan! Running's what you do, once a plan fails!"  -Earl Bassett

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#8 2004-07-15 12:16:30

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid5]*Here's some additional information.  Spaceref.com is hosting a special link entitled "Mercury Today":

"The surface of Mercury reaches a high temperature near 840 degrees Fahrenheit and the solar intensity can be 11 times higher than on Earth.  --->Yet the seven instruments aboard the spacecraft will operate at near room temperature from behind MESSENGER's heat-resistant, ceramic-cloth sunshade while the spacecraft dips into its orbit, as low as 124 miles above the planet."<--- 

(Info above is from this article)

Well, I've been "reporting" on this mission and posting updates here...I wonder if I could be allowed in as a member of the media?  :hm:  It'd be great.  :laugh:

-also-

Ready for the launch pad!

*Wow, check out the information about the propellant and the protective gear the team members have to wear; sealed and with their own air supply. 

Go MESSENGER!

--Cindy

::EDIT::  "Each of MESSENGER's three main tanks - 22 inches in diameter and 41 inches long - can hold up to 53 gallons of propellant."

[b:post_uid5]How can a tank that small hold 53 gallons of propellant??[/b:post_uid5]  It says *each* tank.  sad[/color:post_uid5]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#9 2004-07-15 15:56:27

Euler
Member
From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2003-02-06
Posts: 922

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

::EDIT::  "Each of MESSENGER's three main tanks - 22 inches in diameter and 41 inches long - can hold up to 53 gallons of propellant."

How can a tank that small hold 53 gallons of propellant??  It says *each* tank.  [/quote:post_uid0]

A cylinder 22 inches in diameter and 41 inches long has a volume of about 15,585 cubic inches.  This equates to about 67 gallons of wine (or any fluid in US) or about 56 gallons of ale (or any fluid in Briton).   :hm: Stupid non-metric measurement system.[/color:post_uid0]

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#10 2004-07-15 16:05:21

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid5]

::EDIT::  "Each of MESSENGER's three main tanks - 22 inches in diameter and 41 inches long - can hold up to 53 gallons of propellant."

How can a tank that small hold 53 gallons of propellant??  It says *each* tank.  [/quote:post_uid5]

A cylinder 22 inches in diameter and 41 inches long has a volume of about 15,585 cubic inches.  This equates to about 67 gallons of wine (or any fluid in US) or about 56 gallons of ale (or any fluid in Briton).   :hm: Stupid non-metric measurement system.[/quote:post_uid5]
*Okay, thanks Euler.  :-\  Figuring out cubic stuff and volume...blah.  wink

I believe you of course...but it does seem so :hm: -- still.  Especially since 53 gallons sounds like *a lot* to fit!

--Cindy  smile[/color:post_uid5]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#11 2004-07-20 07:05:00

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid6]High-resolution gamma-ray detector

*"...a team that built a rugged, encapsulated germanium gamma-ray detector and mated it with a miniature cryocooler. The miniature cryocooler and a multi-layered thermal shield maintain the germanium detector at a temperature less than 90 degrees Kelvin, ensuring that the gamma-ray spectrometer operates correctly...

Mercury's proximity to the sun makes it an unprecedented mission design challenge. The sun, viewed from the surface of Mercury, can appear up to 11 times brighter than what is seen on Earth, and Mercury's surface temperatures at its equator can reach 450 degrees Celsius (about 840 degrees Fahrenheit). However, MESSENGER will operate at room temperature behind a sunshade of heat-resistant ceramic fabric. The 1.2-ton spacecraft also features a heat-radiation system and will pass only briefly over Mercury's hottest regions, limiting exposure to the intense heat reflected back from the broiling surface.

'We have to maintain the heat at no higher than 90 degrees Kelvin (-297.67 degrees Fahrenheit),' Madden said. 'The team has a good reputation for making this type of instrument and was glad to have this unique opportunity to put this superior detector on the MESSENGER spacecraft.'"

Kudos to them.  Amazing. 

--Cindy[/color:post_uid6]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#12 2004-07-20 07:27:48

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid5]Cindy:-

Kudos to them. Amazing.[/quote:post_uid5]
    You said it, Cindy!
    I can't adequately express my admiration for these engineering geniuses who produce such magnificent devices. May their names live on in the hallowed annals of space history forever!
                                         cool    smile[/color:post_uid5]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#13 2004-07-20 09:30:02

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid5]   I can't adequately express my admiration for these engineering geniuses who produce such magnificent devices. May their names live on in the hallowed annals of space history forever!
                                         cool    smile[/color:post_uid5][/quote:post_uid5]
[color=#8D38C9:post_uid5]*Yep.  It's enviable (in a healthy sort of way).   I doubt I could have invented the frickin' bicycle.  :-\  :laugh:

I'm glad the team members' names were listed.  Too often (it seems) only a few people or one person gets all the glory and the unsung heros are shoved off into the shadows.

Well, here's hoping for a perfect and flawless launch on August 2!  :toast: 

--Cindy[/color:post_uid5]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#14 2004-07-21 04:06:02

remcook
Banned
Registered: 2004-01-07
Posts: 78

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]launch date is drawing near smile

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=13425[/color:post_uid0]

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#15 2004-07-22 06:38:29

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid2]CU-Boulder instrument on MESSENGER

*$8.7 million price tag for that instrument.  Article mentions "one of the raging debates" about Mercury:  Did it ever have volcanoes?  This instrument will help resolve that debate, hopefully (among other things).

"Some intriguing questions that MASCS will address involve the mineral composition of Mercury's surface, the distribution of gases in its atmosphere and the workings of its comet-tailed sodium gas cloud. Others include whether the 3,000-mile-in-diameter planet has a solid or molten core and whether there have ever been volcanoes on its surface, which reaches daytime temperatures of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit."

--Cindy  :up:

P.S.:  "Comet-tailed sodium gas cloud"?!  ???  Whoa.  smile

::EDIT::  "Radar studies also show a high reflectivity near Mercury's poles hinting that some permanently shadowed craters may contain some form of water ice."[/color:post_uid2]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#16 2004-07-26 18:04:41

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid5]*Here's some really great additional info about MESSENGER (the beginning portion of the 1st sentence is a bit of a repeat, but then goes into greater detail about the shielding): 

"Remarkably, the only thing between the probe's room-temperature science instruments and the blistering sun and pizza-oven heat will be --->a handmade ceramic-cloth quilt just one-quarter of an inch thick.<---

'If it doesn't stay toward the sun, it will fry everything,' said Neal Bachtell, mechanical technician and master quilter.

Bachtell used X-Acto blades to cut the 3M Nextel fabric and then — relying on sewing tips from his mother — used an industrial sewing machine to stitch the off-white pieces together into an 8-by-9-foot quilt, using Teflon-coated fiberglass thread. It was a nasty; the itchy, ceramic-fiber cloth sheds and is bad to inhale."

-also-

"Diode heat pipes burrowed into the extraordinarily insulated spacecraft will radiate internal heat from all the electronics. When Messenger passes between the sun and Mercury and it gets really sweltering — not too often and not for long because of Messenger's cleverly conceived flight plan — these pipes will shut down and the boxy craft will be like a house with all the windows closed on a steamy afternoon.

'It's basically a Thermos bottle,' Ercol explained."

--Cindy

Article here (the remainder is essentially repeated information from previous articles posted in this thread)

::EDIT::  "Once its mission is accomplished in 2012, Messenger will keep orbiting Mercury until it eventually crashes onto the surface. It will go down with a pair of U.S. flags, decals solemnly placed on one of Messenger's most heat-resistant surfaces.

The spacecraft team wanted to leave a flag on Mercury to show, for all time, that Americans were there."[/color:post_uid5]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#17 2004-08-02 07:30:15

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid4]Monday launch aborted; will try again Tuesday

*Unfavorable weather conditions (thunderstorms, lightning) from Tropical Storm Alex is the cause.  This morning's attempt was aborted 4 minutes prior to launch.

They're going to try again Tuesday at 2:15:56 a.m., EDT.

Launch has a 12-second window...and they've got a 12- [b:post_uid4]day[/b:post_uid4] window to get it launched in order to reach Mercury.

"'While everyone here is looking forward to the next seven years, I’ll be very happy to get through the next 36 hours,' said Joel Tumbiolo, U.S. Air Force Delta 2 weather officer, during a prelaunch press briefing on July 31."

Tuesday's launch carries a 30% risk of weather complications.

sad

--Cindy[/color:post_uid4]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#18 2004-08-03 01:35:17

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,667

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid14]It's on its way!

sky.com[/color:post_uid14]

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#19 2004-08-03 06:02:58

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid7]

It's on its way!

sky.com[/quote:post_uid7]
*Great!  smile  I'm glad you posted -- I visited New Mars before checking my regular space news web sites.

I'd seen an item on the news last evening about Tropical Storm Alex -- but my husband needed me to help him with something outside and I couldn't catch the news.  Was concerned about that storm causing more delays.

Nyaaaa on Alex.   :;):

--Cindy

P.S.  I believe this was the 2nd launch attempt, not the 3rd.  But it's hard to keep everything straight.

::EDIT::  Geez.  So far I only see the news story at space.com and even then it was already in the column with "older" stories.  Spaceref.com's "Mercury Today" still shows launch as *pending.*  Good grief.  :-\  ::2nd edit::  Now they've (spaceref.com) got the story up, front page.  8 hours and 15 minutes after launch.  Guess someone finally had their morning coffee.[/color:post_uid7]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#20 2004-08-03 17:00:39

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,667

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Well, it was deep in the night they launched, IIRC when i posted the news was half an hour old, first one to list it on Google news was a Chinese site, but that was kinda slow, so i put up the other link...[/color:post_uid0]

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#21 2004-08-03 18:22:44

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid4]Well, it was deep in the night they launched,[/color:post_uid4][/quote:post_uid4]
[color=#8D38C9:post_uid4]*Right. 

Launch was 12:15:56 a.m. Eastern Standard Time...and spaceref.com's "Mercury Today" didn't post the news until approximately 10:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.  :-\  I've not known that particular web site to be tardy with news.

Oh well.  I'm just glad MESSENGER is on its way!!

:band:  :band: 

--Cindy  smile[/color:post_uid4]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#22 2004-08-04 05:54:45

bolbuyk
Member
From: Utrecht, Netherlands
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 178

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid1]

::EDIT::  "Each of MESSENGER's three main tanks - 22 inches in diameter and 41 inches long - can hold up to 53 gallons of propellant."

How can a tank that small hold 53 gallons of propellant??  It says *each* tank.  [/quote:post_uid1]

A cylinder 22 inches in diameter and 41 inches long has a volume of about 15,585 cubic inches.  This equates to about 67 gallons of wine (or any fluid in US) or about 56 gallons of ale (or any fluid in Briton).   :hm: Stupid non-metric measurement system.[/color:post_uid1][/quote:post_uid1]
[color=#000000:post_uid1]I´m a little surprised that the volumetric Oxidizer to Fuel ratio is less than 1 to 2 while for stoichometric burn (which gives about the best result with this combination) the  volumetric ratio is  about 1  to 1 (a little more oxidiser). What would be the explanation?

Mabe for some manouvres there´s only hydrazine used? (Can be used as monopropellant.)

Yeah, non-metric properties can drive you crazy, I think. I think they meant  American Gallons (It´s NASA) and  the volume should be 200 l or dm3 or .2 m3.  Maybe the tank is not a perfect cilinder. The  thicknes of the  wall, some places .02 inch it is .5 mm. Yet I can imagine more about the  tanks.[/color:post_uid1]

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#23 2004-08-04 06:26:17

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,667

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]*Right. 

Launch was 12:15:56 a.m. Eastern Standard Time...and spaceref.com's "Mercury Today" didn't post the news until approximately 10:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.[/color:post_uid0][/quote:post_uid0]
[color=#000000:post_uid0]Now i'm com-pleh-tuh-leey confused...

I've very probably mis-calculated the launch time i thought it was about 0200 local time where they launched, ( anyway at night, judging from the pics...) initially, but now you write spaceref posting the news 2 hours *prior* to it happening, and still you say they were tardy ?  :hm:

can-fuse-hun can-fuse-hun, mind melting, out of coffee... Help!  big_smile[/color:post_uid0]

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#24 2004-08-04 06:37:03

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid2]but now you write spaceref posting the news 2 hours *prior* to it happening, and still you say they were tardy ?  :hm:

can-fuse-hun can-fuse-hun, mind melting, out of coffee... Help!  big_smile[/color:post_uid2][/quote:post_uid2]
[color=#8D38C9:post_uid2]*Hi Rik.  yikes

The launch occurred 15 minutes, 56 seconds after midnight (hence the "a.m." designation). 

Ten hours later -- at 10:30 a.m. -- spaceref.com posted the news.

smile

--Cindy[/color:post_uid2]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#25 2004-08-04 10:35:49

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,667

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]/Me sitting here, staring at the screen, trying to get my brain unknot...

probably because i'm used to read 00.56 instead of 12.56.... (24-hours notation)[/color:post_uid0]

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