BepiColombo - The Mercury Challenge
Publication date: 03 July 2006
Authors: van Casteren, J., et al.
Copyright: JSASS and ISTS
BepiColombo is an interdisciplinary mission to the planet Mercury that has been selected as the 5th cornerstone in the Cosmic Vision programme of the European Space Agency (ESA). Owing to the high scientific potential related to the planet and its environment the mission will open a new frontier in the study of our solar system. Planned for launch in 2013, BepiColombo is a collaboration between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). It consists of two scientific orbiters, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), which will study the origin and evolution of the planet, Mercury's interior dynamics and the origin of the magnetic field. The interplanetary trajectory includes flybys at the Moon, Earth, Venus (twice) and Mercury (twice), as well as several long thrust arcs provided by solar electric propulsion. The Mercury orbit capture and lowering to the operational orbits will be done with chemical propulsion. The launch configuration consists of a stack of the two spacecraft and the chemical and electrical propulsion modules.Link to publication