A NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study
of the innermost planet
NASA logo carnegie institution logo JHU APL logo

Why Mercury?
The Mission
News Center
Science Operations
Who We Are
Related Links

Download iPhone/iPad app Information about Mercury Flybys Question and Answer End of Orbit Insertion Where is MESSENGER? Where is Mercury now? Subscribe to MESSENGER eNews

MESSENGER Status Report
August 24, 2004

MESSENGER completed its first planned maneuver today at 5:03:35 p.m., EDT, when the thrusters ignited to correct trajectory inaccuracies associated with launch. The spacecraft's four medium (5-pound) hydrazine-propellant thrusters did the brunt of the work with only minor tweaks needed from eight of the 12 small (1-pound) thrusters. It took only 26 seconds for a tracking station in Madrid, Spain, to pick up signals indicating the maneuver had begun.

"It was a beautiful maneuver with all maneuver commands executing as they were supposed to," says Mission Operations Manager Mark Holdridge. The 3.6-minute thruster burn cut the spacecraft's velocity by 40 mph (18 meters per second) relative to the sun and slowed the spacecraft to a mere 63,990 mph. MESSENGER is now 4.8 million miles from Earth.

On Aug.27, testing of instruments and subsystems will resume, with the back-up processor (DPU-B) being used to turn on the instruments as a test of its viability. Two more small maneuvers later this year (Sept. 24 and Nov. 19) are needed to precisely target the spacecraft for its August 2005 Earth swingby.

   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2015 by JHU/APL