BepiColombo


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BepiColombo

A European Space Agency (ESA) mission to the planet Mercury, run in collaboration with Japan and planned for launch in 2009. The mission will consist of two spacecraft, probably driven by solar electric propulsion: a Mercury orbiter and a magnetospheric satellite. Both craft will probably use the Moon's and Mercury's gravity to control their flight. The mission's basic objectives are to add to our understanding of the composition, structure, and history of Mercury and thereby extend our knowledge of the formation and history of the inner (terrestrial) planets of the Solar System in general. Consisting of two space vehicles incorporating many different modules, BepiColombo is set to map the whole of Mercury at several wavelengths. It will plot the planet's mineralogy and elemental composition and will be able to determine whether or not Mercury's interior is molten. BepiColombo is to be one of ESA's ‘cornerstone’ missions. Its use of two spacecraft makes it one of the most expensive ever mounted and, given Mercury's proximity to the Sun, one of the most technically challenging. The BepiColombo orbiter will have to endure extremes of temperature, from the furnacelike conditions of Mercury's sunlit side to the intense cold of its night side. The mission takes its name from a 20th-century Italian mathematician and spacecraft engineer Giuseppe (‘Beppi’) Colombo, who discovered that Mercury's axial rotation period equals two-thirds of that of its revolution around the Sun.
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Key ESA projects the experts will support include the development of Galileo, Europes own global navigation system, the Mars Express Mars orbiter mission, and BepiColombo, Europes first mission to Mercury.
65 billion BepiColombo spacecraft is now being unstacked f final tests after being displayed in its launch configuration to the world's press at the European Space Agency's (http://www.
A follow-up mission, BepiColombo, will be launched in two years and by 2024 will pick up the work that Messenger began.
The next probe to study Mercury, the BepiColombo mission set for launch in 2017, "will be looking for signs of this crater, and if they can make measurements of it, they will know precisely how long that region has been exposed to space," explained Sean Solomon, the principal investigator of the Messenger mission and director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.
The newest mission under construction, BepiColombo, will spend more than six years in transfer, although it makes use of both chemical propulsion and ion engines.
When the European Space Agency's Bepicolombo probe blasts off in 2015 for the planet closest to the Sun, it will be carrying a "nervous system" developed and built by experts at hi-tech company Star-Dundee.
This knowledge provides timely advice for the scientists and engineers who are readying ESA's BepiColombo mission to Mercury.
In 2015, to increase our understanding of this mysterious planet, Europe is launching BepiColombo, the first dedicated mission to Mercury.
Whilst the Rosetta comet probe pursues its journey in the cold depths of deep space, its solar panels having to retain the weak rays of our distant Sun, BepiColombo will be braving the infernal heat around the innermost planet, less than 40 million miles from the sun.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) hoped to launch a collaborative mission in 2014 called BepiColombo after the engineer, Guiseppe Colombo, whose pioneering work in the 1970s had led to the idea that spacecraft could reach distant planets by flying close past nearer planets to obtain a 'gravitational slingshot'.
QINETIQ has signed a 23 million [pounds sterling] contract with FADS Astrium for the supply of the solar-electric propulsion system for the European Space Agency's BepiColombo mission to Mercury.
QinetiQ, the Malvern-based company spun out of the government Defence Evaluation Research Agency, announced yesterday that it won a pounds 23 million contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide the electric propulsion system for the European BepiColombo spacecraft.