Visit the USGS Home Page Go to the Astrogeology Research Program Home Page USGS Astrogeology Research Program

Mercury-Bound MESSENGER Launches from Cape Canaveral

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Messenger launch
Messenger Launch The MESSENGER spacecraft successfully launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

200 x 284, 35 KB
NASA's MESSENGER -- set to become the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury -- launched today at 2:15:56 a.m. EDT aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The approximately 1.2-ton (1,100-kilogram) spacecraft, designed and built by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., was placed into a solar orbit 57 minutes after launch. Once in orbit, MESSENGER automatically deployed its two solar panels and began sending data on its status. Once the mission operations team at APL acquired the spacecraft’s radio signals through tracking stations in Hawaii and California, Project Manager David G. Grant confirmed the craft was operating normally and ready for early system check-outs.

More: NASA - Mercury-Bound MESSENGER Launches from Cape Canaveral

Link: NASA - Mercury, Get Ready for a Close-Up