NASA hailed the insertion as a breakthrough.
"This is a milestone event for our small, but highly experienced, operations team, marking the end of six and one half years of successfully shepherding the spacecraft through six planetary flybys, five major propulsive maneuvers, and sixteen trajectory-correction maneuvers, all while simultaneously preparing for orbit injection and primary mission operations," Messenger Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan said in a statement.
"Whatever the future holds, this team of highly dedicated engineers has done a phenomenal job methodically generating, testing, and verifying commands to the spacecraft, getting Messenger where it is today," Finnegan said.
NASA: Messenger craft ready to enter Mercury's orbit
By Keith Laing - 03/17/11 09:44 PM EDT