Video: BepiColombo's Journey to Mercury

©ESA

BepiColombo Approaches Mercury

Animation visualising BepiColombo's launch and cruise to Mercury.

Some aspects have been simplified for the purpose of this animation.

The joint ESA-JAXA mission comprises the European Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Japan's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, which will be transported to the innermost planet by the Mercury Transfer Module. The animation highlights several key milestones, including the solar array and antenna deployments once in space, through to the arrival at Mercury seven years later.

When approaching Mercury, the transfer module will separate and the two science orbiters, still together, will be captured into orbit around the planet. Their altitude will be adjusted until the Magnetospheric Orbiter's desired orbit is reached. Then the Planetary Orbiter will separate and descend to its lower orbit, and the two craft will begin their scientific exploration of Mercury and its environment.

More information: esa.int/bepicolombo

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.