Gigantic changes keep space technology hot
NASA's Mercury mission, Space Shuttle retirement dominate very busy space season
By Michael Cooney | Network World US | Published: 16:05, 21 March 11
From budget battles and getting commercial spacecraft off the ground to a private moon landing competition and new outer space missions it is clear there are a ton of activities going on now that will reshape the space industry. Here we have gathered 13 of the most recent and important activities shaping the space realm.
NASA satellite primed for first ever Mercury orbit
If all goes well NASA this week will send a spacecraft to a place it has never been, the planet Mercury's orbit. NASA's satellite MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) will become the first spacecraft to actually orbit Mercury, about 730 times, beaming back pictures and never before available pictures and information on the planet. On March 17 2011, MESSENGER will become the first spacecraft ever to enter Mercury's orbit. The probe will continue to orbit the planet once every 12 hours for the duration of its mission.