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Space & Planetary Science

MESSENGER Gets a Reprieve

By Keith Cowing
April 3, 2015
Filed under ,
MESSENGER Gets a Reprieve

MESSENGER’s Operations at Mercury Extended
“MESSENGER mission controllers conducted a maneuver yesterday to raise the spacecraft’s minimum altitude sufficiently to extend orbital operations and further delay the probe’s inevitable impact onto Mercury’s surface. The previous maneuver, completed on March 18, raised MESSENGER to an altitude at closest approach from 11.6 kilometers (7.2 miles) to 34.4 kilometers (21.4 miles) above the planet’s surface. Because of progressive changes to the orbit over time in response to the gravitational pull of the Sun, the spacecraft’s minimum altitude continued to decrease.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.