The BepiColombo Mission

BepiColombo facts and figures

BepiColombo around Mercury
An artists' impression of the MPO at Mercury
  • Launch: 2017
  • Launch vehicle: Ariane 5
  • Launch mass: 4100kg
  • Operational mission: Nominally one year in Mercury orbit after arriving in 2024.
  • Orbits: Heliocentric transfer orbit to Mercury. On arrival at Mercury the two orbiters, which together constitute BepiColombo, separate. The planetary orbiter (MPO) enters a polar orbit 400 × 1500 km, 2.3 hr period and the magnetospheric orbiter (MMO) polar orbit 400 × 12 000 km, 9.2 hr period.

Mission Objectives

  • Origin and evolution of a planet close to the parent star;
  • Mercury's form, interior structure, geology, composition and craters;
  • Origin of Mercury's magnetic field;
  • Test of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Mercury's vestigial atmosphere (exosphere): composition and dynamics;
  • Mercury's magnetised envelope (magnetosphere): structure and dynamics.

External links

European Space agency (ESA)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

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