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Sunday, March 27, 2011
MESSENGER Begins Historic Orbit Around Mercury
NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft successfully achieved orbit around Mercury at approximately 9 p.m. EDT Thursday. This marks the first time a spacecraft has accomplished this engineering and scientific milestone at our solar system's innermost planet.
For the next several weeks, APL engineers will be focused on ensuring the spacecraft’s systems are all working well in Mercury’s harsh thermal environment. Starting on March 23, the instruments will be turned on and checked out, and on April 4 the mission's primary science phase will begin.