BepiColombo Ready for Long Cruise to Mercury
The European Space Agency (ESA) – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s BepiColombo mission has successfully completed a series of tests and has completed its near-Earth commissioning phase.
The BepiColombo mission is now ready for the operations that will take place during the cruise and, eventually, for its scientific investigations at Mercury.
About the Mission
BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the planet Mercury. The mission comprises of two satellites launched together:
- Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO)
- Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)
The mission will undertake a comprehensive study of Mercury, including characterization of its magnetic field, magnetosphere, and both interior and surface structure.
Launched in October 2018, the mission is expected to arrive at Mercury in 2025. It will endure temperatures in excess of 350 °C and gather data during its 1-year nominal mission, with a possible 1-year extension.
Later next year BepiColombo will also perform the first of its two flybys of Venus — the second planned for August 2021. The flybys of Venus will provide an opportunity to operate some of the instruments on both orbiters and to collect scientifically valuable data to further study this fascinating planet while en route to the mission’s destination Mercury.
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