image 11-December-2017 03:16:43

BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter

Date: 28 January 2015
Satellite: BepiColombo
Depicts: Proto-flight model of the Mercury Planetary Orbiter
Copyright: ESA – A. Le Floc'h

The proto-flight model of the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) in the test centre at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

At ESTEC, the MPO has been tested in the Large Space Simulator (LSS) - the largest thermal vacuum chamber in Europe, which is used to test full-size spacecraft in representative space conditions. The LSS was upgraded in 2011 to cater for the BepiColombo spacecraft, in particular the need to simulate the sunlight levels at Mercury that are up to ten times more intense than the level in Earth orbit.

The spacecraft is pictured here mounted on its ground handling trolley.

The BepiColombo mission consists of two orbiters: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), developed by ESA, and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), developed by JAXA.


Last Update: 15 June 2015

For further information please contact: SciTech.editorial@esa.int