With less than six hours to go, MESSENGER is on schedule for its 8:45 p.m. (EDT) rendezvous with Mercury. "The command sequence containing instructions to maneuver MESSENGER into orbit about Mercury is now executing, the science instruments have been turned off, and the propulsion system is conditioned for its big show this evening," says MESSENGER Project Manager Peter Bedini.
The MESSENGER team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., expects confirmation of orbit by 10 p.m. (EDT).
Coverage of the mission will begin at 8 p.m. (EDT) tonight at APL's Kossiakoff Auditorium. The event will include a mission overview by MESSENGER Project Scientist Ralph L. McNutt, Jr., and live commentary by other scientists and engineers. The event will be broadcast live via Webcast at http://mfile.akamai.com/7111/live/reflector:22179.asx?bkup=22194. Note: This webcast cannot be viewed using Safari browser. Mozilla Firefox is recommended when viewing this webcast on a Mac.