BepiColombo Prepares for Mercury – launches for hottest planet 2018

BepiColombo Prepares for Mercury
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BepiColombo Prepares for Mercury – preparations for launch on target

ESA’s first mission to Mercury, BepiColombo, is now set for final thermal tests before launching to the hottest planet in our Solar System in October 2018. Europe said farewell to the spacecraft on 6 July 2017 when it was at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

BepiColombo is a joint mission to Mercury between the ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The space venture consists of two science orbiters: ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter.

Once at Mercury, the orbiters will separate.  They move into their own orbits to take measurements of Mercury’s interior, surface, exosphere and magnetosphere.

The information will tell us more about the origin and evolution of a planet close to its parent star. Also provide a better understanding of the overall evolution of our own Solar System.

To prepare for the harsh conditions close to the Sun, the spacecrafts have undergone extensive testing. Both as separate units, and in the 6 m-high launch and cruise configuration

ESA’s Video tells us more about BepiColombo from inside the ESTEC clean room and interviews from those involved in the mission.

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