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Media Detail

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
John F. Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32899
FOR RELEASE: 06/25/2004
Open Image KSC-04PD-1348

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No copyright protection is asserted for this photograph. If a recognizable person appears in this photograph, use for commercial purposes may infringe a right of privacy or publicity. It may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA employees of a commercial product, process or service, or used in any other manner that might mislead. Accordingly, it is requested that if this photograph is used in advertising and other commercial promotion, layout and copy be submitted to NASA prior to release.

PHOTO CREDIT:   NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - At right, technicians at Astrotech in Titusville, Fla., guide into place the second solar panel to be installed on NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft. At left is the first panel already installed. The two large solar panels, supplemented with a nickel-hydrogen battery, will provide MESSENGER’s power. MESSENGER is scheduled to launch Aug. 2 aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from Pad 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. It will return to Earth for a gravity boost in July 2005, then fly past Venus twice, in October 2006 and June 2007. The spacecraft uses the tug of Venus’ gravity to resize and rotate its trajectory closer to Mercury’s orbit. Three Mercury flybys, each followed about two months later by a course-correction maneuver, put MESSENGER in position to enter Mercury orbit in March 2011. During the flybys, MESSENGER will map nearly the entire planet in color, image most of the areas unseen by Mariner 10, and measure the composition of the surface, atmosphere and magnetosphere. It will be the first new data from Mercury in more than 30 years - and invaluable for planning MESSENGER’s year-long orbital mission. MESSENGER was built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

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