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MESSENGER

robotic NASA spacecraft orbiting the planet Mercury

MESSENGER, MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging, was an unmanned NASA and APL spacecraft.[6] It was orbiting and studying the planet Mercury.[6] Its mission lasted 10 years, 8 months and 28 days.

MESSENGER
MESSENGER - spacecraft at mercury - atmercury lg.jpg
Artist's rendering of MESSENGER orbiting Mercury.
Mission typeMercury probe
OperatorNASA
COSPAR ID2004-030A
SATCAT no.28391
Websitemessenger.jhuapl.edu
Mission durationTotal:
10 years, 8 months and 28 days
At Mercury:
4 years, 1 month and 14 days
En route: 7 years
Primary mission: 1 year
First extension: 1 year[1]
Second extension: 2 years[2][3]
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerApplied Physics Laboratory
Launch mass1,107.9 kg (2,443 lb)
Power450 watts
Start of mission
Launch dateAugust 3, 2004, 06:15:56 (2004-08-03UTC06:15:56Z) UTC
RocketDelta II 7925H-9.5
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-17B
Entered serviceApril 4, 2011
End of mission
DisposalDeorbited
DestroyedApril 30, 2015
Orbital parameters
Reference systemHermiocentric
Perihermion200 kilometers (120 mi)
Apohermion10,300 kilometers (6,400 mi)
Inclination80 degrees
Period12 hours
EpochJan 1, 2000[4]
Flyby of Earth (gravity assist)
Closest approachAugust 2, 2005
Distance2,347 kilometers (1,458 mi)
Flyby of Venus (gravity assist)
Closest approachOctober 24, 2006
Distance2,990 kilometers (1,860 mi)
Flyby of Venus (gravity assist)
Closest approachJune 5, 2007
Distance337 kilometers (209 mi)
Flyby of Mercury
Closest approachJanuary 14, 2008
Distance200 kilometers (120 mi)
Flyby of Mercury
Closest approachOctober 6, 2008
Distance200 kilometers (120 mi)
Flyby of Mercury
Closest approachSeptember 29, 2009
Distance228 kilometers (142 mi)
Mercury orbiter
Orbital insertionMarch 18, 2011, 01:00 UTC[5]
MESSENGER mission emblem.png

It was launched on August 3, 2004[6][7] at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket.[7] After launch, the probe did several fly-bys and deep space manoeuvres to gain the right trajectory and speed.[6]

It completed 30% mapping of Mercury on January 14, 2008. MESSENGER made one more pass by Mercury in 2009, and on March 18, 2011 began to orbit Mercury.[6][8] 100% mapping was completed in March 2013 and the probe continued its studies. On April 30, 2015, it crashed into Mercury. It crashed near the crater Janáček.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "NASA extends spacecraft's Mercury mission". UPI. November 15, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  2. Wu, Brian (April 3, 2015). "NASA Set to Extend Mercury Mission for Another Month". Johns Hopkins University APL. The Science Times. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  3. "MESSENGER's Operations at Mercury Extended". Johns Hopkins University APL. SpaceRef.com. April 3, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  4. Domingue, D.L.; Russell, C.T.; Domingue, editors ; foreword by D.L.; Russell, C.T. (2007). Messenger mission to Mercury (1st ed.). New York: Springer. pp. 225–245. ISBN 9780387772141.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. Lee, Jimmy; Galuska, Mike (March 18, 2011). "NASA Chats – MESSENGER Prepares to Orbit Mercury". NASA. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 How it Works, Imagine Publishing (23), p. 48-49, 2011-07-14 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Launch Coverage: MESSENGER Mission". NASA. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  8. Murchie, Scott L.; Vervack Jr., Ronald J.; Anderson, Brian J. (March 2011), "Journey to the Innermost Planet", Scientific American, New York, 304 (3), pp. 26–31