NASA MESSENGER Status Report 31 Mar 2004


MISSION: MESSENGER
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Delta II Heavy
LAUNCH PAD: 17-B
LAUNCH DATE: July 30, 2004 NET
LAUNCH WINDOW: 2:17:44 a.m. - 2:17:56 a.m. EDT

MESSENGER is at the Astrotech Space Operations facilities near Kennedy Space Center where it is undergoing prelaunch testing. Testing of the spacecraft's radio system uplink and downlinks through the KSC/JPL interface with the Deep Space Network is underway. This testing will last about ten days. Autonomy testing is also underway. This verifies MESSENGER's ability to operate on its own when not in direct contact with Earth. Installation of thermal blankets continues.

On April 13, the spacecraft will be moved from its current location in the hazardous processing facility where it has been since arrival to an adjacent non-hazardous payload processing facility. The remainder of its final assembly and testing will be completed there. The spacecraft will return to the hazardous processing facility when ready for fueling, spin balance testing and mating to the upper stage.

MESSENGER has been built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

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