Preparing BepiColombo for launch
The BepiColombo modules are being prepared for launch at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou.
The mission comprises two science orbiters – ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) – and the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM). The transfer module will use solar electric propulsion to take the two science orbiters to Mercury, together with gravity assist flybys at Earth, Venus and Mercury itself.
BepiColombo is Europe's first mission to Mercury, due to launch this year on a journey to the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in the inner Solar System.