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Next Delta 4 rolls out
The Boeing Delta 4 rocket to launch the next GOES geostationary U.S. weather satellite is rolled to Cape Canaveral's pad 37B for its spring blastoff. (2min 08sec file)
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Rocket goes vertical
The pad erector arm lifts the Delta 4 rocket upright, standing the vehicle onto the launch table. (4min 00sec file)
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Checking their ride
The STS-114 return-to-flight space shuttle astronauts inspect Discovery's thermal tiles and wing leading edge panels during the Crew Equipment Interface Test activities at Kennedy Space Center. (2min 26sec file)
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In the payload bay
The astronauts don coveralls and go into space shuttle Discovery's payload bay for further examinations during the Crew Equipment Interface Test in the orbiter hangar. (1min 25sec file)
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Space rendezvous
After a two-day journey from Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Russian Progress 17P mission and International Space Station rendezvous in Earth orbit. Cameras on both craft provide scenes in this highlights movie. (4min 02sec file)
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Station flyaround
The Progress vehicle performs an automated flyaround of the International Space Station to align with the docking port. (3min 42sec file)
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ISS cargo ship docking
The Russian Progress M-52 resupply ship docks to the International Space Station as seen by the nose-mounted camera on the delivery freighter. (1min 30sec file)
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Approach and docking
This extended length clip shows the Russian Progress cargo ship's final approach and docking to the International Space Station. (10min 00sec file)
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MESSENGER probe deploys magnetometer boom
Posted: March 8, 2005

The Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft is now cruising with its sunshade facing the Sun and its Magnetometer boom extended, after a pair of long-planned and successful operations today.

Working on commands sent from the MESSENGER Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland through NASA¹s Deep Space Network antenna station near Madrid, Spain, the spacecraft tilted its solar panels away from the Sun, used its momentum wheels to flip 180 degrees, then tilted its solar panels back toward the Sun. The nine-minute maneuver, designed to keep MESSENGER operating at safe temperatures as it moves closer to the Sun, wrapped up at 11:47 a.m. EST.

About an hour later, the middle hinge of the two-section boom holding the Magnetometer instrument deployed, followed 30 minutes later by the second hinge that connects the 3.6-meter (about 12-foot) boom to the spacecraft.

"It was a pair of textbook operations," says MESSENGER Mission Operations Manager Mark Holdridge, of the Applied Physics Lab. "A lot of credit goes to the team members who contributed to this successful day. The spacecraft is doing great."

MESSENGER was 29.2 million miles (about 47 million kilometers) from Earth during the operation, speeding around the Sun at 69,826 miles (112 374 kilometers) per hour. MESSENGER had been flying with its "back" to the Sun since launch last Aug. 3, allowing it to keep its instruments and systems warm without using power for heaters. Mission plans call for the spacecraft to keep its shade facing the Sun for the remainder of its cruise to, and science orbit around, Mercury.

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury, and the first NASA mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on Aug. 3, 2004, and after flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury will start a yearlong study of its target planet in March 2011. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as principal investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages the Discovery-class mission for NASA.