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
Gallery
Education
News Center
Science Operations
Who We Are
FAQs
Related Links
Contacts
Home


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


On Again

Many members of the MESSENGER team are back in Florida, preparing the spacecraft for the July 30 - August 13 launch opportunity.

In this week's image, MESSENGER is perched on the "elephant stand" while an overhead crane is used to guide the nickel-hydrogen (Ni-H) flight battery into place. From this vantage point you can see the outer row of 11 individual cells; they look like upside down 1-liter soda bottles. The spacecraft has been running on the spare battery since last November, except for a short period in March when the flight battery was installed, then removed when launch was shifted to no earlier than July 30. Similar to car batteries, spacecraft batteries have limited lifetimes, so the flight battery is reserved until final launch preparations commence.

Click here for large and small time-lapse movies of the battery installation.

Over the coming weeks MESSENGER's instruments will be powered up and tested, its flight radiator and solar panels installed, insulation blankets adjusted and full up simulations run. MESSENGER is scheduled to leave the Astrotech processing facility for mating with its Delta II launch vehicle on July 16.

| Daily Movies

Last updated: June 11, 2004


   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2014 by JHU/APL