BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter Proto-Flight Model Structure and Propulsion hardware arriving at ESTEC
The BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) Proto-Flight Model (PFM) structure, with the chemical propulsion subsystem and heat pipes integrated, arriving at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, in December 2012. It has just travelled from the Stevenage (UK) facility of Astrium, where the first integration and testing activities were performed. Thales Alenia Space will perform further integration of the spacecraft under the direction of the Prime Contractor, Astrium GmbH. The orbiter is packed in a specially built transport container that provided it with protection against vibration and shocks and maintained a controlled internal environment (temperature and humidity).