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#51 2005-05-12 06:33:13

Palomar
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

http://www.mercurytoday.com/news/viewsr … ]MESSENGER makes history

*Deep-space communications history, that is.

by taking with it electronically-steered phased array antennas that will allow scientists to send back twice as much data about the planet than originally envisioned.

Hmmmm...not much of a "status" update, though; article focuses on the antennae. 

No news is good news, I suppose; apparently it's doing fine.

--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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#52 2005-05-12 07:54:36

SpaceNut
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Mercury's proximity to the Sun also made it necessary to use materials able to withstand temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius, or 572 degrees Fahrenheit. (Bokulic says previous antennas built for APL spacecraft have operated only to 100 C).

Wow that hot, most electronics start to have break downs internally at around 90 C.
Besides the passive sun shield what else does this probe have for technology to withdstand being so hot.

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#53 2005-06-01 04:20:30

Palomar
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

http://www.mercurytoday.com/news/viewpr … =16981]Did you say cheese?

*In less than 3 months MESSENGER will fly past Earth.  The gravitational boost from that of course will serve as a slingshot and help propel it towards the inner Solar System.

On May 11 MESSENGER took a set of 6 photos.  At that time Earth was 18.4 million miles distant.  The photos also included Luna, which was 248,898 miles from Earth at the time: 

Dr. S. Edward Hawkins III, lead engineer for MDIS...said finding the Moon in the pictures was an unexpected bonus. "As we stretched the image we saw this little object to the side, which turned out to be the Moon," he said. "That was exciting."

cool

MESSENGER'S MDIS has taken aprox 400 test shots since the probe's launch, but:

but all were of star fields, dark space or a calibration target on MESSENGER's lower deck. "The team is elated," says Dr. Louise M. Prockter, MDIS instrument lead scientist at APL. "These were our first 'real' images, and they're only going to get better as MESSENGER moves closer to Earth."

This photo op is in preparation for the August 2nd Earth flyby.

Looks like all is going splendidly.  smile

--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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#54 2005-06-01 05:05:51

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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Just peaked at the The John Hopkins University's MESSENGER Web Site complete with count down timer for the flyby.

What speed will the probe obtain after its flyby?

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#55 2005-06-28 12:44:37

Palomar
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

http://www.mercurytoday.com/news/viewsr … 149]Update

*They performed a brief maneuver today which will serve to keep MESSENGER on course for the August 2 (gravity-assist) flyby. 

The maneuver was performed at 10:30 a.m. EST.  It lasted for aprox 174 seconds and slowed M down by roughly 2.5 mph or 1.1 meters per second.

Everything going fine.  :up:

--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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#56 2005-06-28 13:16:56

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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Does it have any instruments to monitor the temple comet collision? As mentioned in other threads sometimes things can be used for other purposes.

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#57 2005-06-28 13:18:18

Palomar
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Does it have any instruments to monitor the temple comet collision? As mentioned in other threads sometimes things can be used for other purposes.

*That's never been mentioned in conjunction with MESSENGER, that I've seen.

--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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#58 2005-07-02 07:07:53

Yang Liwei Rocket
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Just peaked at the http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/index.html] The John Hopkins University's MESSENGER Web Site complete with count down timer for the flyby.

What speed will the probe obtain after its flyby?

very good site  big_smile


'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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#59 2005-07-06 05:50:47

Palomar
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

http://www.mercurytoday.com/news/viewsr … 223]Update

*The mission web site has a new feature:

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/whereis/index.php]Where is MESSENGER?

shows detailed, simulated views of the spacecraft's current orbit; MESSENGER's location in the solar system; and what Earth and Mercury look like from MESSENGER's current perspective.

A nice addition.  smile

M closing in fast for August flyby:  Is only 6.2 million miles from us.  Speed is 68,167 mph. 

All tests went okay; types performed discussed.  The August gravity-assist flyby will begin next step of M's mission:

The Earth flyby will send the spacecraft toward Venus. The first of two Venus flybys is planned for October 2006.

Also mentions a rehearsal of activities planned for Aug flyby.

--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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#60 2005-07-24 01:49:51

Yang Liwei Rocket
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

very good links

this is a great mission


'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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#61 2005-08-02 05:50:16

Palomar
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

http://www.mercurytoday.com/news/viewsr … =17581]5th trajectory-correction maneuver successful.

*Was 23 seconds in duration.  This decreased M's velocity slightly, by 0.5 foot every second.  Mentions saving fuel for later in the mission.

All's well. 

--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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#62 2005-09-03 20:59:23

Palomar
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

MESSENGER Earth Departure Movie

Comprising 358 frames taken over 24 hours, the movie follows Earth through one complete rotation. The spacecraft was 40,761 miles (65,598 kilometers) above South America when the camera started rolling on Aug. 2. It was 270,847 miles (435,885 kilometers) away from Earth - farther than the Moon's orbit - when it snapped the last image on Aug. 3.

*Great, it's opening on this computer.  smile  Check it out.

--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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#63 2005-11-12 08:35:15

Palomar
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

MESSENGER meets Venus

*On Nov. 7 MESSENGER passed inside Venus' orbit.  Of course this is "merely" traveling past; MESSENGER is Mercury-bound as we know. 

Everything continues going well.  As of the report date, M was 65.4 million miles from Sol and 30.3 million miles from Earth.

Where is MESSENGER?

Comp-sim views.

-*-

Preparing for December maneuvers

New software has been uploaded into M; discusses ironing out bugs and etc.

A Deep Space Maneuver (DSM-1) is planned, which will be the 1st firing of M's large bipropellant thruster.

--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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#64 2005-12-12 13:58:16

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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

*This from space.com's "Astronotes":

December 12

MESSENGER’s Big Burn

NASA’s Mercury-bound spacecraft—MESSENGER—fired up its large thruster on December 12, burning for 524 seconds. The thruster firing put the interplanetary probe on a trajectory to flyby Venus in October of next year.

Then some rehash:

But cloud-veiled Venus is not the ultimate destination of MESSENGER. The spacecraft is to slip into orbit around Sun-broiled Mercury on March 18, 2011.

Launched in August 2004, MESSENGER had already used 16 of its 17 thrusters to accomplish five small trajectory correction maneuvers. For the recent maneuver, the craft used its largest, most efficient thruster to accomplish what’s dubbed Deep Space Maneuver 1.

MESSENGER will carry out two Venus flybys, using the pull of the planet’s gravity to swing itself toward Mercury’s orbit.

That second Venus flyby takes place in June 2007, followed by Mercury flybys in January 2008, October 2008, and September 2009 – all helping MESSENGER to maneuver into Mercury orbit in March 2011 and start the first-ever study of that world from such a vantage point.

All's well.  I'm surprised they didn't have that update at spaceref.com's Mercury page.  Hmmmmm.

--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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#65 2005-12-13 08:50:16

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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Messenger press release page

Hopkins engineers put craft on a course for Venus flyby.

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#66 2006-02-23 13:42:30

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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Yep it's time for an update:

MESSENGER status report 22 Feb 2006[/url]"]

MESSENGER trajectory correction maneuver 10 (TCM 10) lasted just over two minutes and adjusted its velocity by about 1.4 meters per second (4.6 feet per second). The short-duration maneuver placed the spacecraft on track for its next major mission event: the first Venus flyby on October 24, 2006.


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#67 2007-06-04 14:54:06

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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Ready for Science-Rich Encounter With Venus

WASHINGTON - NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft will make its closest pass to Venus on Tuesday, June 5. This will place the spacecraft on target for a flyby of Mercury in January 2008. MESSENGER will be the first probe to visit the innermost planet in more than 30 years.

Threading its path through an aim point 209 miles above the surface of Venus, MESSENGER will use the pull of the planet's gravity to guide it closer to Mercury. During this flyby, Venus's gravity will change the spacecraft's direction around the sun and decelerate it from 22.7 to 17.3 miles per second.

"Typically, spacecraft have used planetary flybys to speed toward the outer solar system," said Andy Calloway, MESSENGER mission operations manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md. "MESSENGER, headed in the opposite direction, needs to slow down enough to slip into orbit around Mercury."

This will be MESSENGER's second pass by Venus. During its first flyby of the planet, in October 2006, no scientific observations were made. Venus was at superior conjunction, placing it on the opposite side of the sun from Earth, leading to a two-week radio contact blackout between the spacecraft and its operators. This upcoming encounter offers opportunities for new observations of Venus's atmosphere, cloud structure, space environment and perhaps even its surface. The spacecraft will train most of its instruments on Venus during the upcoming encounter.

"During the flyby we'll ensure that the spacecraft and payload remain healthy, calibrate several of the science instruments, and practice many of the observations planned for the Mercury flybys," said Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator and planetary scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The team plans to image the upper cloud layers at visible and near-infrared wavelengths for comparison with earlier spacecraft observations. Magnetic field and charged particle observations will be made to characterize the solar wind interaction with Venus and search for solar wind pick-up ions. Ultraviolet-visible and X-ray spectrometry will permit detailed observations of the composition of the upper atmosphere, and MESSENGER will search for lightning on the Venus night side.

MESSENGER will join the European Venus Express spacecraft, currently orbiting Venus, to make new observations of the Venus environment. To understand fully how solar wind plasma affects and controls the Venus ionosphere and nearby plasma dynamics, simultaneous measurements are needed of the interplanetary conditions and the particle-and-field characteristics at Venus. The combined MESSENGER and Venus Express observations will be the first opportunity to conduct such two-spacecraft measurements.

"By coordinating and comparing these observations, we will be able to maximize the science from both missions and potentially learn things that would not be revealed by one set of observations alone," said APL's Ralph McNutt, MESSENGER project scientist.


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#68 2007-06-15 00:26:33

cIclops
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

179927main_depart_6panel_venus.jpg
Venus flyby

After acquiring hundreds of high-resolution images during close approach to Venus, MESSENGER turned its wide-angle camera back to the planet and acquired a departure sequence. These images provide a spectacular good-bye to the cloud-shrouded planet while also providing valuable data to the camera calibration team.


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#69 2007-09-10 06:26:04

cIclops
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

traj_f02.gif
Full mission trajectory - first flyby is 14 Jan 2008

MESSENGER Trajectory

The mission began with launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on August 3, 2004. After returning to Earth for a gravity assist on August 2, 2005, MESSENGER headed toward the first of two Venus flybys. The first occurred on October 24, 2006, when the spacecraft approached the planet from its dayside. MESSENGER again flies past a mostly sunlit Venus on June 5, 2007.

The Mercury flybys on January 14, 2008, October 6, 2008, and September 29, 2009, will provide the first close-up look at Mercury in more than 30 years. On all three flybys, the spacecraft departs with sunlit views of the planet, taking pictures of the regions not seen by the first spacecraft to visit Mercury - Mariner 10. This early science return will be invaluable in planning observation strategies for MESSENGER's historic yearlong orbit mission, which begins in March 2011.

Should be some great images in January!


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#70 2007-10-19 00:42:56

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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Critical Deep-Space Maneuver - 17 Oct 2007

The MESSENGER spacecraft delivered a critical deep-space maneuver on Wednesday — 155 million miles (250 million kilometers) from Earth — successfully firing its large bi-propellant engine to change the probe’s trajectory and target it for its first flyby of Mercury on January 14, 2008.

“Completing this maneuver was a huge milestone for the mission,” offered MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon. “We are now en route to the closest glimpse of Mercury that anyone has ever seen. Over the next three months the suspense about what we will find will steadily build.”

The maneuver was executed in two parts from the MESSENGER Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. At 6 p.m. EDT on October 17, the probe fired its large main engine for just over five minutes, using about 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of propellant to change its velocity by 226 meters per seconds, or just over 505 miles per hour.

Then, at 6:30 p.m. EDT, the small thrusters were fired for about two minutes, changing the probe’s velocity by an additional 1.4 meters per second. This burn redistributed the propellant in the main tanks to manage location of the probe’s center of mass, putting the spacecraft in a more stable mode of operation. “This action lowers the risk of having to do momentum correction maneuvers during November, when interference from the Sun will prevent communication with the spacecraft,” explained APL’s Jim McAdams, who helped design this maneuver.

“Everything went as planned, and we are now on target for a flyby of Mercury in January 2008,” said Mission Operations Manager Andy Calloway of APL, adding that this maneuver was the most critical of the mission other than orbit insertion, primarily because of the timing. ”Deep-Space Maneuver-2 (DSM-2) was executed just nine days prior to the start of the longest solar conjunction communications outage period of the mission,” he said. “So there was limited opportunity to correct problems and to obtain good orbit determination data for the navigation team.”


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#71 2007-11-04 11:52:22

cIclops
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Sun Cuts into MESSENGER’s Dance Around the Solar System - 30 Oct 2007

MESSENGER entered solar conjunction on October 26, when the spacecraft’s trajectory moved it behind the Sun and out of clear view from Earth for several weeks. The team has just a limited time left before the Sun’s interference with the probe’s radio transmission severely limits communication with mission operations at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

“We expect we’ll be able to communicate with MESSENGER for about another week or two before we completely lose contact,” says APL’s Andy Calloway, the mission operations manager.

Although this is the longest solar conjunction of the mission – 47 days – it’s not the first. The previous solar conjunction period began October 17, 2006 (just before the first Venus flyby on October 24, 2006), and lasted about a month, including about two weeks with no communications at all. “We learned a lot from that first solar conjunction,” Calloway says. “Our planning for this solar conjunction is based, in part, on our experience with that event.”

Prior to a deep-space maneuver this past October 17, engineers began shutting down the instruments, with the exception of the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS) sensor on the Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer (GRNS) instrument. The GRS has been left on but placed in a “sleep mode” that allows it to maintain a safe temperature without help from mission operators on Earth.

Operators also programmed MESSENGER’s onboard computer to go 54 days without receiving a command from Earth. Typically, MESSENGER’s autonomy system will put the spacecraft into a safe state if it goes a week without successfully receiving a command from home. This week, the team transmitted a series of commands that will carry MESSENGER through its basic operations until mid-December.

The extra-long upload also includes commands to rotate MESSENGER on roughly a daily basis during the solar conjunction. “The guidance and control team developed an effective strategy to rotate the spacecraft each day to keep the spacecraft’s momentum from building up too quickly because of the combined effects of all the natural torques a spacecraft experiences,” Calloway says.

MESSENGER’s navigation team has asked operations to conduct a series of tracking observations called delta differential one-way ranging or DDOR (pronounced "Delta Door"). These measurements have been used effectively on the project since the first Venus encounter, and they improve spacecraft navigation accuracy in a direction not observable with ranging and Doppler observations alone. The technique uses distant celestial objects known as quasars for reference points. The quasars, along with the separation of two DSN complexes and highly accurate clocks, combine to determine the angular position of the spacecraft in the plane of the sky.

“DDOR is a supplement to the Doppler and ranging data that the navigation team normally uses and helps them shrink their error ellipse so that they know much more precisely where MESSENGER is in space,” Calloway says. “We would like to execute trajectory correction maneuver 19 soon after coming out of conjunction on December19, so we have included many DDOR observations so that if the Sun remains quiescent we can use those data to plan and execute the maneuver.”

The operations team will also use the conjunction period to test the final encounter sequence for the January 14 Mercury flyby on ground simulators and review contingency plans and simulations so the team is prepared for any outcome at the end of the conjunction period. This is important because the team has three opportunities in December and two opportunities in January to execute the next trajectory correction maneuvers as MESSENGER’s final approach to Mercury is fine-tuned.


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#72 2007-11-27 15:31:06

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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

23 Participating Scientists Selected - 16 Nov 2007

NASA has selected 23 scientists for participation in the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) Mission. MESSENGER is on course to fly within 200 kilometers of Mercury on January 14, 2008 — the first probe to pass by the planet in nearly 33 years — and these Participating Scientists, along with the mission’s existing team of engineers and scientists, will play critical roles in examining the images and data gathered before, during, and immediately following that flyby.

“The breadth, scope, and creativity of the scientists selected is very encouraging,” said Marilyn Lindstrom, NASA Program Scientist for the MESSENGER mission. “By directly participating in NASA’s next mission to Mercury, these scientists will help bring us closer to the long-term objective of better understanding the innermost planet.”

MESSENGER is the seventh mission in NASA’s Discovery Program. The MESSENGER mission, spacecraft, and science instruments are focused on answering six key questions that will allow us to understand Mercury as a planet: Why is Mercury so dense? What is the geologic history of Mercury? What is the structure of Mercury’s core? What is the nature of Mercury’s magnetic field? What are the unusual materials at Mercury’s poles? What volatiles are important at Mercury?


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#73 2007-11-30 15:12:47

cIclops
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

mfly1_3view.jpg

Nicely planned to view the unobserved half of Mercury from 200 kms!


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#74 2007-12-22 05:27:54

cIclops
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

MESSENGER Zeros in on Mercury - 19 Dec 2007

MESSENGER’s nineteenth trajectory-correction maneuver (TCM-19) completed on December 19 lasted 110 seconds and adjusted the spacecraft's velocity by 1.1 meters per second (3.6 feet per second). The movement targeted the spacecraft close to the intended aim point 200 km (124 miles) above the night-side surface of Mercury for the probe's first flyby of that planet on January 14, 2008.

The maneuver started at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Mission controllers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., verified the start of TCM-19 about 13 minutes later, after the first signals indicating thruster activity reached NASA's Deep Space Network tracking station outside Canberra, Australia.

“The MESSENGER spacecraft’s TCM-19 is one in a series of potential course correction opportunities planned in advance of the first Mercury flyby,” explained APL’s Eric Finnegan, MESSENGER’s Mission Systems Engineer. “TCM-19 corrected small deviations in the trajectory remaining after the successful execution of the deep-space maneuver on October 18.”

“We’re now set for our flyby,” added MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon. “Achieving our aim point not only will give us our first close-up view of Mercury in nearly 33 years; it will ensure that we continue on the trajectory needed to place, for the first time, a spacecraft into orbit around the innermost planet three years later.”


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#75 2008-01-09 04:47:34

cIclops
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Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Six Days from Mercury and Counting! - 8 Jan 2008

The MESSENGER spacecraft continues to approach Mercury and will be less than 3 million kilometers (1.9 million miles) away from the planet at the end of today. In just six days – on January 14, 2008, at 2:04 p.m. EST – the probe will pass a mere 200 kilometers (124 miles) above Mercury’s surface. Extensive scientific observations are planned during this historic flyby, the first spacecraft flyby of Mercury in more than 30 years.

Mission operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., recently sent MESSENGER a series of commands to acquire nine sets of optical navigation images at the planet Mercury. “This technique was tested and validated after MESSENGER’s second flyby of Venus in June 2007,” explained MESSENGER Mission Operations Manager Andy Calloway. “The Mercury Dual Imaging System camera will be used to further refine knowledge of the spacecraft trajectory by taking a sequence of Mercury limb images that include known bright stars in the camera’s field of view as the spacecraft approaches Mercury.”

MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington discussed the importance of the historic flyby during a Planetary Radio show aired on January 7.  “I was a very junior assistant professor at MIT back when Mariner 10 flew by Mercury three times in 1974 and 1975,” Dr. Solomon told host Mat Kaplan. “It made some important discoveries that raised some questions that have been with us for three decades. So to be returning to Mercury – initially with this flyby but ultimately to go into orbit – with a modern suite of instruments to answer those three-decade-old questions has all of us at the edge of our seats.” The entire interview is available online at http://www.planetary.org/radio/show/00000270/.

To celebrate MESSENGER's first flyby of the planet Mercury, APL and the Planetary Society will host a public reception on the evening of the encounter. The event will be held in APL’s Parsons Auditorium from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The featured speaker is Robert G. Strom, a professor emeritus of lunar and planetary studies at The University of Arizona. Strom was involved in the Mariner 10 mission, the first and only previous mission to Mercury, and he is now a member of the MESSENGER Science Team. He'll share his unique perspective on the significance of the MESSENGER mission. Find out more about Professor Strom through this previously featured story: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/who_we_are/ … 62006.html. RSVPs for the public reception are being accepted at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/RSVP/.

Anyone near a computer during MESSENGER's flyby encounter can watch the planned observations unfold with simulated views of Mercury as seen via MESSENGER's two cameras by accessing the Mercury Flyby Visualization Tool, available at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/encounters/.

As the flyby continues to approach, additional information and features will be available online at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/mer_flyby1.html. Following the flyby, be sure to check back frequently to see the latest released images and science results!


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