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MESSENGER News Archive

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  • MESSENGER Engine Burn Puts Spacecraft on Track for Venus (December 12, 2005)
    At 6:30 a.m. (EST) today NASA's Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft successfully fired its large bipropellant thruster for the first time since launch, completing the first of several critical deep space maneuvers that will help the spacecraft reach Mercury orbit. [more]

  • MESSENGER Team Prepares for December Maneuver (November 11, 2005)
    After successfully uploading new software to the MESSENGER spacecraft, mission controllers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, are setting their sights on the December Deep Space Maneuver (DSM-1), when the craft's large bipropellant thruster will be fired for the first time in space on December 12. [more]

  • Movie Headlines MESSENGER Earth Flyby Gallery (August 26, 2005)
    The pictures from MESSENGER's Aug. 2 flyby of Earth are in - and spectacular. The collection includes "natural" color and infrared views of North and South America; a peek at the Galapagos Islands through a break in the clouds; and a movie of the rotating Earth, taken as MESSENGER sped away from its home planet. [more]
  • MESSENGER Completes Successful Earth Swingby (August 2, 2005)
    NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, headed toward the first study of Mercury from orbit, swung by its home planet today for a gravity assist that propelled it deeper into the inner solar system. [more]

  • MESSENGER Lines Up for Earth Swingby (July 21, 2005)
    MESSENGER's fifth trajectory correction maneuver lasted just 23 seconds and adjusted its velocity by less than half-a-foot per second. But the fleeting maneuver went a long way in keeping the spacecraft on track for the upcoming gravity-assist flyby of Earth. [more]

  • MESSENGER Executes Successful Flyby Test (July 5, 2005)
    The MESSENGER team successfully tested the spacecraft and instrument commands planned for next month's flyby of Earth - a key step in preparing the final sequences for this critical maneuver. [more]

  • MESSENGER Sets Course for Earth Flyby (June 23, 2005)
    A short maneuver kept MESSENGER on track for its Aug. 2 flyby of Earth - the major gravity assist that starts the next leg of the spacecraft's journey toward Mercury. [more]

  • MESSENGER Peeks at Earth (May 31, 2005)
    The MESSENGER spacecraft - less than three months from the Earth flyby that will slingshot it toward the inner solar system - successfully tested its main camera by snapping distant approach shots of Earth and the Moon. [more]

  • MESSENGER Antenna Gains from Teamwork (April 27, 2005)
    What happens when teams of varying expertise put their heads together to develop and test a unique, mission critical system? You can make deep space communications history -- like MESSENGER did when it launched with electronically-steered phased array antennas that will allow scientists to send back twice as much data about Mercury than originally envisioned. [more]

  • An Energetic Checkout (April 18, 2005)
    The MESSENGER team continues to check out the spacecraft's science payload - including a full commissioning of the Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer (EPPS) instrument - and prepare for additional instrument operations in the weeks ahead. [more]

  • MESSENGER Deploys Magnetometer, Flips Sunshade Toward Sun (March 8, 2005)
    MESSENGER is now cruising with its sunshade facing the Sun and its Magnetometer boom extended, after a pair of long-planned and successful operations. [more]

  • Planning for the Flip (March 1, 2005)
    Preparations and testing continue for the scheduled March 8 spacecraft "flip," which will point MESSENGER's sunshade toward the Sun. Shortly after the flip, MESSENGER will deploy the boom for the Magnetometer instrument. [more]

  • Staring at a Supernova (February 14, 2005)
    MESSENGER's X-Ray Spectrometer underwent calibrations last week, spending five days "looking" at one of the stronger x-ray sources in the sky, the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. The test gave the team its best look yet at the instrument's detectors. [more]

  • Heading Back (February 7, 2005)
    Last week the MESSENGER spacecraft reached "local max" -- its farthest distance from home before starting back toward Earth for the gravity-assist flyby on Aug. 2. [more]

  • Planning Ahead (January 31, 2005)
    MESSENGER is in good health and its systems are operating normally. Last week the Mission Operations team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory continued working on software upgrades for MESSENGER's flight and ground systems and planning for upcoming flight activities. [more]

  • Camera Check (January 17, 2005)
    Last week, MESSENGER's science, engineering and mission operations teams successfully conducted the second absolute radiometric calibration for the Mercury Dual Imaging System. [more]

  • Looking Ahead (January 10, 2005)
    The MESSENGER spacecraft and science teams are looking ahead to several key events in 2005. [more]

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