news 21-March-2018 11:49:56

Call for media: Last chance to view ESA's Mercury Explorer BepiColombo

14 June 2017

Media representatives are invited to a briefing on BepiColombo, ESA and JAXA's joint mission to Mercury, and to view the spacecraft before it leaves for Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, for launch next year.

BepiColombo acoustic test. Credit: ESA–C.Carreau, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Mercury is the least explored planet of the inner Solar System. BepiColombo is set to follow up on many of the intriguing results of NASA's Messenger mission, probing deeper into Mercury's mysteries than ever before.

It will examine the peculiarities of its internal structure and magnetic field generation, and how it interacts with the Sun and solar wind. It will investigate surface features and chemistry, such as the ice in permanently shadowed craters at the poles. The mission's science will help revolutionise our understanding of the formation of our Solar System, and in the evolution of planets close to their parent stars.

To achieve these goals, ESA and JAXA will deliver two spacecraft into complementary orbits around the planet. The spacecraft will make the seven-year journey to Mercury together, carried by a transfer module.

The complete spacecraft stack is currently undergoing final testing in its launch configuration, and will be available for viewing on 6 July as part of a dedicated briefing organised by ESA, JAXA, Airbus and Thales Alenia at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

The spacecraft will leave Europe in March next year ahead of its scheduled October 2018 launch from Kourou.

The media briefing will provide an overview of the project and will highlight the scientific gain that will ultimately come from this mission.

There will be ample opportunities for interviews with space experts and for taking photos and videos of the spacecraft in the cleanroom.

Programme outline

Doors open

Alvaro Giménez, Director of Science, ESA: Welcome; BepiColombo's role for ESA in exploring in our Solar System

Hitoshi Kuninaka, Vice Director General, ISAS: BepiColombo's role for JAXA and ISAS

Mathilde Royer, Head of Earth observation, Navigation and Science, Airbus DS: BepiColombo built by an European consortium

Ulrich Reininghaus, ESA BepiColombo Project Manager: Challenges of the mission and the development and project status quo

Markus Schelkle, BepiColombo Project Manager, Airbus DS: Technologies for power generation

Mauro Patroncini, BepiColombo Project Manager, Thales Alenia Space: Thermal protection to survive at Mercury

Hajime Hayakawa, JAXA BepiColombo Project Manager; Masaki Fujimoto, JAXA BepiColombo Project Scientist: JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter and its science

Johannes Benkhoff, ESA BepiColombo Project Scientist: ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter and its science

Question and answer session and opportunity for individual interviews

Photo and video opportunity in the ESTEC clean room to see the BepiColombo spacecraft


For accreditation, media can register at:
Please register by 29 June.
How to get to ESTEC

Follow online

Social media, via Twitter: @BepiColombo. Ask questions via #AskESA.

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99

Last Update: 15 June 2017

For further information please contact:

Images And Videos