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MESSENGER facts for kids

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An artist's picture of MESSENGER orbiting Mercury
Organization: NASA / APL
Mission type: Flyby / Orbiter
Satellite of: Mercury
Launch date: August 3, 2004
Launch vehicle: Boeing Delta II
Launch site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
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MESSENGER, MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging, was an unmanned NASA and APL spacecraft. It was orbiting and studying the planet Mercury. Its mission lasted 10 years, 8 months and 28 days.

It was launched on August 3, 2004 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket. After launch, the probe did several fly-bys and deep space manoeuvres to gain the right trajectory and speed.

It completed 30% mapping of Mercury on January 14, 2008. MESSENGER made one more pass by Mercury in 2009, and on March 18, 2011 began to orbit Mercury. 100% mapping was completed in March 2013 and the probe continued its studies. On April 30, 2015, it crashed into Mercury. It crashed near the crater Janáček.

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