Status Report

NASA MESSENGER Mission News July 27, 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
July 28, 2004
Filed under , , ,
NASA MESSENGER Mission News July 27, 2004

Going, Going, Gone!

MESSENGER is now sitting atop the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 17. This set
of Webcam images from July 20 takes you through MESSENGER’s final
moments at the Astrotech Space Operations facility, where the team
had been processing and testing the Mercury-bound spacecraft since

At upper left, with MESSENGER wrapped in two sheets of protective
plastic, members of the Boeing team install a section of the “can”
that protects the spacecraft and the attached, third stage of the
launch vehicle during transport. Four sections are assembled around
the base of the third stage; the rest of the can fits over the
spacecraft in one piece. The 15-foot-tall can itself was then double
bagged for additional protection.

After the team rolled MESSENGER out the door – seen in the next
three images – the spacecraft made the 22-mile trip to the launch
pad, crawling at 5 miles an hour on a four-wheeled transporter. The
top protective bag around the can was removed once the spacecraft
arrived at the launch pad; the other came off once the team sealed
the clean room that encloses the spacecraft on top of the launch

SpaceRef staff editor.