March 18, 2011: NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft successfully achieved orbit around Mercury at approximately 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 17. This marks the first time a spacecraft has accomplished this engineering and scientific milestone at our solar system's innermost planet.
"This mission will continue to revolutionize our understanding of Mercury during the coming year," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who was at MESSENGER mission control at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., as engineers received telemetry data confirming orbit insertion. "NASA science is rewriting text books. MESSENGER is a great example of how our scientists are innovating to push the envelope of human knowledge." Full story here