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MESSENGER Mission News
March 10, 2011

NASA Media Telecon Previews First Spacecraft to Orbit Mercury
NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 15, to discuss the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or MESSENGER, will enter orbit at approximately 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 17. The spacecraft has conducted more than a dozen laps through the inner solar system for the past 6.6 years.

Media teleconference participants are:
  • Andy Calloway, MESSENGER Mission Operations Manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md.

  • Carl Engelbrecht, MESSENGER Propulsion Subsystem Lead, APL

  • Sean Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington
To participate and to receive dial-in instructions, reporters must contact Steve Cole at stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov or 202-358-0918.

During the briefing, related images will be available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/media/MOITelecon.html.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA's website at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio.

At 10 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 16, NASA experts will hold a one-hour, live Web chat to answer questions about MESSENGER's orbital insertion. The chat window will open at 9:30 a.m. To participate, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/messenger_chat.html.

At 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 17, APL and The Planetary Society will co-host a public lecture in APL’s Kossiakoff Center, featuring MESSENGER Project Scientist Ralph L. McNutt, Jr. RSVP online at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/RSVP/. This event will also be broadcast via live Webcast.

For more information about the MESSENGER Mission Mercury Orbit Insertion, go online to http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/mer_orbit.html.

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and after flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury will start a yearlong study of its target planet in March 2011. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.

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