[SatNews] MESSENGER has delivered its first image since entering orbit about Mercury on March 17.
The images was taken on March 29th at 5:20 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 start 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.”
Integral Systems, Inc., (Nasdaq:ISYS) congratulated NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) for successfully inserting the MESSENGER probe into orbit around the planet Mercury. "Integral Systems congratulates NASA and APL on the success of the
MESSENGER mission as the MESSENGER probe became the first spacecraft
ever to enter into orbit around the planet Mercury," said Paul Casner,
CEO of Integral Systems. "MESSENGER has traveled almost five billion
miles, completed 15 orbits of the sun and traveled at an average speed
of 84,500 miles per hour on its way to Mercury. The recently published
pictures of the surface of Mercury sent from MESSENGER are a testament
to the remarkable engineering accomplishment."
Integral Systems has been an instrumental part of the MESSENGER
program, providing its EPOCH Integrated Product Suite (IPS) satellite command and control software solution. EPOCH was used during the
Integration and Test (I&T) phase to ensure the spacecraft's flight
readiness and continues to support on-orbit operations.