View Full Version : MESSENGER Lifts Off for Mercury

2005-Sep-10, 04:25 AM
SUMMARY: NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, to begin its mission to become the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. The spacecraft was designed and built by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), and will make a roundabout trip before reaching its final destination. It'll make 15 orbits of the Sun, and fly once past the Earth, twice past Venus and three times past Mercury before easing into its final orbit in 2011. The first and only spacecraft sent to Mercury was Mariner 10, which made three flybys in 1974-75, and only mapped less than half its surface.

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