Kevin Forsyth Home


History of the Delta Launch Vehicle

Current Delta News

(What about Delta IV?)

10-Jan-08 | MESSENGER on course for first Mercury fly-by

NASA’s Mercury probe MESSENGER will pass within 124 miles of the First Rock from the Sun on Monday, 14 January 2008. It will make its closest approach at 19:04 UTC. This will be the first mission to provide a close-up view of the mysterious little planet since Mariner 10 made its third and final fly-by in 1975, nearly thirty-three years ago.

The mission team has been receiving and analyzing batches of optical navigation images for the past few days, in order to determine the spacecraft’s exact position relative to Mercury and to ascertain whether any trajectory corrections are needed to remain on course. As yet no adjustments have occurred since the regularly-scheduled TCM-19 on 19 December, and a 10 January follow-up burn was cancelled. The team will continue to monitor these navigational images until shortly before the fly-by, when course corrections will no longer be possible and the spacecraft’s instruments will be turned toward the planet.

MESSENGER (short for “MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging”) was launched by Delta 307 in August 2004. Along with providing some early science returns, the fly-by is a gravity assist manoeuvre to alter MESSENGER’s trajectory. The spacecraft will pass Mercury twice more before settling into orbit in March 2011.

Your comment:



Back to top

Warning: include() [function.include]: http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_fopen=0 in /home/kevinfor/public_html/delta/weblog/wp-content/themes/delta/index.php on line 149

Warning: include('AKM|COLA|DIGS|^GEM|hypergol|MECO|PHSF|propellants|RIFCA|SAEF|SECO|SLC|TCM|vernier|video|Discovery|MIDEX|NOAA|USAF|CNES|EUMETSAT') [function.include]: failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/kevinfor/public_html/delta/weblog/wp-content/themes/delta/index.php on line 149

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening ''AKM|COLA|DIGS|^GEM|hypergol|MECO|PHSF|propellants|RIFCA|SAEF|SECO|SLC|TCM|vernier|video|Discovery|MIDEX|NOAA|USAF|CNES|EUMETSAT'' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/kevinfor/public_html/delta/weblog/wp-content/themes/delta/index.php on line 149