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Old 03-18-2011, 08:41 AM   #106
FordPrefect
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Cool. Congrats on the successful Mercury Orbit Insertion! Not sure if it has been mentioned before, there's a nice webtool from NASA, where you can follow also Messenger in realtime in 3D: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eyes/
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:00 AM   #107
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That's fantastic news. Hoorray, NASA!
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:24 PM   #108
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MESSENGER Mission News

March 21 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu




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Spacecraft Data Confirm MESSENGER Orbit and Operation



Data from its first three days in orbit about Mercury have confirmed the initial assessment of the spacecraft team that MESSENGER is in its intended orbit and operating nominally.



“The team is relieved that things have gone so well, but they remain busy as they continue to configure the spacecraft for orbital operations and monitor its health and safety in the new environment,” says MESSENGER Project Manager Peter Bedini, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.


Today the navigation team delivered an orbit determination that will span MESSENGER’s first four weeks in orbit. Starting on March 23, 2011, the team will begin commissioning the science instruments. That day the Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer, Magnetometer, Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer, Mercury Laser Altimeter, Neutron Spectrometer, and X-Ray Spectrometer will be turned on.



On March 29, 2011, the Mercury Dual Imaging System will be powered on and will take its first images. The year-long science observation campaign will begin on April 4, 2011.



“We are about to embark on the first essentially continuous observations of Mercury by an orbiting spacecraft,” adds MESSENGER Principal investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “It will be a shared adventure long anticipated and much to be relished.”



You can follow MESSENGER’s journey in its orbit about Mercury with the newly revised "Where Is MESSENGER?" website feature, which offers simulated views of the spacecraft’s current orbit and what Mercury looks like from MESSENGER’s current perspective. The Solar System Simulator offers another option for portraying Mercury from the perspective of the MESSENGER spacecraft at any time during the remainder of the mission. Simulated views of nearby Mercury or distant Earth from MESSENGER may be created for a variety of fields of view.



For complete information on MESSENGER’s Mercury orbital operations, go online to http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/mer_orbit.html.




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Mercury’s “Secrets”



Stuart Atkinson – a lifelong amateur astronomer and author of 10 children’s astronomy and spaceflight books – has penned a poem entitled “Secrets,” on the occasion of MESSENGER’s Mercury orbit insertion. The poem is available online at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/poem3.html. It is Atkinson’s third MESSENGER-inspired poem, and all are now posted on the project website.




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MESSENGER–Mercury Week for Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!



During the week of the Mercury orbit insertion maneuver (March 14-19, 2011), the MESSENGER mission was featured in a series of comic strips by Tim Rickart. To see those Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! strips, go to http://www.gocomics.com/brewsterrockit/ and use the calendar navigator to view the cartoons for the appropriate dates.




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MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and after flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury will start a yearlong study of its target planet in March 2011. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.




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Old 03-21-2011, 09:50 PM   #109
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Did they publish anything like orbital elements for the Messenger?
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:45 PM   #110
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Not exactly elements, but some parameters of orbit:
PeA = 200-500 km, ApA = 15193-15200 km, Inc = 82.5-84.0°, period = 11h45m-12h0m.

Sources: Mission Design - Working from Orbit, MESSENGER Mercury Orbit Insertion Press Kit (PDF).

And the current position can be obtained from "Where Is MESSENGER?" page, or at given time from Solar System Simulator.
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:30 PM   #111
rudyu
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Videos messenger orbital parameters.

Actually, the orbital period for orbit 18 --apoapsis to apoapsis-- is 12 hh 04 mm 24 ss acording to the messenger webpage.
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:02 AM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orb View Post
It should be no problem setting up that orbit. Not an exact one, but the correct "type".

---------- Post added at 03:02 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:05 AM ----------

MESSENGER orbit approximation:

Code:
BEGIN_DESC
MESSENGER orbit appoximation.
END_DESC
BEGIN_ENVIRONMENT
  System Sol
  Date MJD 55648.0707525499
END_ENVIRONMENT
BEGIN_FOCUS
  Ship GL-01
END_FOCUS
BEGIN_CAMERA
  TARGET GL-01
  MODE Cockpit
  FOV 60.00
END_CAMERA
BEGIN_HUD
  TYPE Orbit
  REF AUTO
END_HUD
BEGIN_MFD Left
  TYPE Surface
  SPDMODE 1
END_MFD
BEGIN_MFD Right
  TYPE Orbit
  PROJ Ship
  FRAME Equator
  ALT
  REF Mercury
END_MFD
BEGIN_PANEL
END_PANEL
BEGIN_SHIPS
GL-01:DeltaGlider
  STATUS Orbiting Mercury
  RPOS -1147713.38 1777701.32 -1681361.31
  RVEL -1555.748 -2473.602 -2364.610
  AROT -133.91 24.53 114.07
  RCSMODE 2
  PRPLEVEL 0:0.601195 1:0.975021
  NAVFREQ 402 94 0 0
  XPDR 0
  RCOVER 1 1.0000
  RADIATOR 1 1.0000
  AAP 0:0 0:0 0:0
END
END_SHIPS
BEGIN_ExtMFD
END
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:07 AM   #113
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I was thinking that the GEOMETRY of the orbit with a periapsis at only 200 Km from the surface at a point at 60 degrees latitude North.

According to "my back of the envelope" calculations the cameras won't be able to cover the last 6 to 10 degrees in the vecinity of the North Pole, because at a 200 Km altitude those points will be either past the horizon or at very shallw viewing angles (smaller than 15 degrees).

On the other hand. I think that the object of the orbiter having a quasi-polar orbit is among other things, to image both poles. Correctly imaging the South Pole should be no problem as the orbit over the Southern hemisphere is much further away from the surface (over 10, 000 Km.) and the viewing angle would be almost perpendicular.

So can anyone here in the forum assist me in understanding this?

Two questions:
Will the Northern Quadrangle H-1 "BOREALIS" get adecuate imaging, considering the low perigee of Messenger?


Will the Sourther Quadrangle H-15 "BACH" get adecuate imaging considering the module will be at over 10, 000 KMS ?

Last edited by rudyu; 03-29-2011 at 04:12 AM. Reason: misspellings and more.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:40 AM   #114
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At periapsis messenger can't see the North pole, but look at the horizon line ~30° from lowest point.
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:44 PM   #115
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NASA to Release MESSENGER's First Orbital Images of Mercury



WASHINGTON -- NASA will release the first orbital image of Mercury's surface, including previously unseen terrain, on Tuesday afternoon, March 29. Several other images will be available Wednesday, March 30 in conjunction with a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT to discuss these initial orbital images taken from the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.



NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or MESSENGER, entered orbit March 17 after completing more than a dozen laps within the inner solar system during the past 6.6 years.



Media teleconference participants are:

-- Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington

-- Eric Finnegan, MESSENGER mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel. Md.



To participate in the teleconference, reporters must contact Dwayne Brown at [email protected] or 202-358-1726 for dial-in instructions.



During the telecom, MESSENGER information and images will be available at: http://www.nasa.gov/messenger.



Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA's website at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC) to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:14 PM   #116
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MESSENGER Mission News

March 29, 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



MESSENGER Sends Back First Image of Mercury from Orbit



MESSENGER has delivered its first image

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/...2&image_id=432


since entering orbit about Mercury on March 17. It was taken yesterday at 3:40 am EDT by the Mercury Dual Imaging System as the spacecraft sailed high above Mercury’s south pole, and provides a glimpse of portions of Mercury's surface not previously seen by spacecraft. The image was acquired as part of the orbital commissioning phase of the MESSENGER mission. Continuous global mapping of Mercury will begin on April 4.



“The entire MESSENGER team is thrilled that spacecraft and instrument checkout has been proceeding according to plan,” says MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “The first images from orbit and the first measurements from MESSENGER’s other payload instruments are only the opening trickle of the flood of new information that we can expect over the coming year. The orbital exploration of the Solar System’s innermost planet has begun.”



Several other images will be available Wednesday, March 30, in conjunction with a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT to discuss the initial orbital images taken from the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Media teleconference participants are:


-- Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C.
-- Eric Finnegan, MESSENGER mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel. Md.

To participate in the teleconference, reporters must contact Dwayne Brown at [email protected] or 202-358-1726 for dial-in instructions. During the teleconference, MESSENGER information and images will be available at http://www.nasa.gov/messenger and http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/presscon8.html.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA's website at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:26 PM   #117
Artlav
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Looks like the Moon.
Is it a true color image?
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:21 PM   #118
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Spaceflight Now: MESSENGER's images tell the tale of mysterious Mercury

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artlav View Post
 Is it a true color image?
Most likely monochrome from one of narrow-band filters. Below is the color version of that image.

This color image captured March 29 by MESSENGER's camera shows Mercury's southern hemisphere, including the 50-mile-wide Debussy crater. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington



There are some more images in MESSENGER Multimedia library.

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Old 03-31-2011, 05:58 PM   #119
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Wow... That planet is completely covered with geological scars and meteroid crater impacts... Looks even worse than the Moon !

, of course !
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:18 AM   #120
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I asked this question on the MESSENGER website to get the best info for the initial orbit.


Quote:
Please note that your question raised at the MESSENGER Question and Answer Knowledge Base Website has been answered!

Go to the following link to view the answer to your question
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/qa/index...=1&ca=22#qn139

The following outlines your Question and Answer

Question:
What were the actual numbers vs. predicted after orbit insertion for the following: orbital period, inclination, periapsis, apoapsis?

Answer:




Parameter
Actual
Target


Orbit period (s)
43456.9
43195.5


Periapse altitude (km)
206.79
200


Semimajor axis (km)
10176
10135


Eccentricity
0.740
0.740


Inclination (deg)
82.52
82.5


RA of Ascend Node (deg)
350.16
350.17


Arg of Periapsis (deg)
119.16
119.13


Periapsis Latitude (deg)
59.997
60


Periaps crossing time
12:52:19.8
12:47:56.0





Regards,
MESSENGER Question and Answer Knowledgebase Administrator
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