MESSENGER

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MESSENGER
MESSENGER - spacecraft at mercury - atmercury lg.jpg
Artist's rendering of MESSENGER orbiting Mercury.
Mission type Mercury probe
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2004-030A
SATCAT no. 28391
Website messenger.jhuapl.edu
Mission duration Total:
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
Manufacturer Applied Physics Laboratory
Launch mass 1,107.9 kg (2,443 lb)
Power 450 watts
Start of mission
Launch date August 3, 2004, 06:15:56 (2004-08-03UTC06:15:56Z) UTC
Rocket Delta II 7925H-9.5
Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-17B
Entered service April 4, 2011
End of mission
Disposal Deorbited
Destroyed April 30, 2015
Orbital parameters
Reference system Hermiocentric
Perihermion 200 kilometers (120 mi)
Apohermion 10,300 kilometers (6,400 mi)
Inclination 80 degrees
Period 12 hours
Epoch Jan 1, 2000[4]
Flyby of Earth (gravity assist)
Closest approach August 2, 2005
Distance 2,347 kilometers (1,458 mi)
Flyby of Venus (gravity assist)
Closest approach October 24, 2006
Distance 2,990 kilometers (1,860 mi)
Flyby of Venus (gravity assist)
Closest approach June 5, 2007
Distance 337 kilometers (209 mi)
Flyby of Mercury
Closest approach January 14, 2008
Distance 200 kilometers (120 mi)
Flyby of Mercury
Closest approach October 6, 2008
Distance 200 kilometers (120 mi)
Flyby of Mercury
Closest approach September 29, 2009
Distance 228 kilometers (142 mi)
Mercury orbiter
Orbital insertion March 18, 2011, 01:00 UTC[5]

MESSENGER mission emblem.png

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.

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.

References[change | change source]

  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. 
  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