With one Earth, two Venus and three Mercury flybys under its belt during the past 6 ½
years, NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft is finally ready to enter Mercury’s orbit on March 17. After executing a 15-minute maneuver, MESSENGER will become the first spacecraft to be placed into Mercury’s orbit and will begin a yearlong campaign to unlock this innermost planet’s mysteries.
Mission design and mission operations teams at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) have used STK/Astrogator
in tandem with other tools throughout the mission. And, in 2008, JHU/APL engineers built a Web-based tool to provide the media and others with quick access to simulated images of Mercury. The interactive “Mercury Flyby Visualization” tool
uses STK/Astrogator to define the locations of the spacecraft and Mercury, spacecraft attitude, sensor definition, sensor pointing and timing for each of the targeted science observations and displays it in 3D. Read the full case study.
For more on MESSENGER, click here.