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MESSENGER Launch 1

Against the clear, black sky, spotlights flood the MESSENGER spacecraft aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket as it sits ready for liftoff, scheduled for August 3, 2004, 2:15:56 a.m. EDT, from Launch Pad 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is on a seven-year journey to the planet Mercury. The spacecraft will fly by Earth, Venus and Mercury several times to burn off energy before making its final approach to the inner planet on March 18, 2011. MESSENGER was built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

Credit: National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA

 


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