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25-Mar-04 | MESSENGER rescheduled

NASA has rescheduled the launch of MESSENGER from May to no earlier than 30 July.  Additional testing of the spacecraft’s fault-protection system software was cited as one of several factors.  “A more comfortable spacecraft processing schedule” was another, though this comes at the cost of cutting it close on the launch window, which only extends through 13 August. MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging; the coolest [if most contrived] acronym ever), if it launches in time, will be the first attempt to orbit the closest planet to the sun. (NASA ELV Status Report, 24-Mar-04)

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