Author Topic: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates  (Read 38067 times)

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #40 on: 07/22/2014 01:26 PM »
#13: BepiColombo integration and functional testing completed at Thales Alenia Space in Turin

21 July 2014 16:40

Integration and functional testing activities for the protoflight models of the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter, Mercury Transfer Module, and Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield and Interface Structure have now been completed at the Thales Alenia Space facility in Turin, Italy. All the mission components have been, or will soon be, delivered to ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, where additional integration tasks and an environmental testing campaign will be performed.

http://sci.esa.int/bepicolombo/54364-13-bepicolombo-integration-and-functional-testing-completed-at-thales-alenia-space-in-turin/

Image credit: Thales Alenia Space
« Last Edit: 07/22/2014 01:31 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #41 on: 10/02/2014 08:58 PM »
Inside BepiColombo's Mercury Transfer Module

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2014/10/Inside_BepiColombo_s_Mercury_Transfer_Module

Image credit: ESA–A. Le Floc’h

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #42 on: 11/17/2014 03:12 PM »
On 30 October, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter, one of the two spacecraft of ESA’s BepiColombo mission, was installed in the Large Space Simulator at the ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

BepiColombo, Europe’s first mission to study Mercury, is a joint mission with Japan. Two spacecraft – the Mercury Planetary Orbiter and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter – will fly in two different orbits around the planet to study it from complementary perspectives.

With launch planned for 2016, the scientists and engineers are busy checking the spacecraft. They are testing the internal connections, the operation of the instruments and spacecraft units, and the communication links between spacecraft and instruments under conditions that simulate what the mission will experience while in cruise as well as in orbit around Mercury.

This campaign includes a thermal–vacuum test in the space simulator. BepiColombo will be ESA’s first craft to operate so close to the Sun, enduring temperatures in excess of 350°C. This meant the chamber had to be updated to simulate the solar radiation at Mercury, which is about ten times higher than on Earth.

The tests are scheduled to start on 19 November and will last until early December.

Set to arrive at Mercury in 2024, BepiColombo will investigate properties of the innermost planet of our Solar System that are still mysterious, such as its high density, the fact that it is the only planet with a magnetic field similar to Earth’s, the much higher than expected amount of volatile elements detected by NASA’s Messenger probe and the nature of water ice that may exists in the permanently shadowed areas at the poles.


Credit: ESA–A. Le’Floch

Offline catdlr

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #43 on: 01/05/2015 10:07 PM »
Testing ESA's Mercury mission

Published on Jan 5, 2015

Europe’s Mercury mission is moved through ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in this new video, positioning it for testing inside the largest vacuum chamber in Europe, for a trial by vacuum.

BepiColombo, Europe’s first mission to study Mercury, is a joint mission with Japan. Two spacecraft – the Mercury Planetary Orbiter and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter – will fly in two different paths around the planet to study it from complementary perspectives.

Flight hardware for the mission is undergoing testing at ESA’s Technical Centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the largest spacecraft test facility in Europe, to prepare for its 2016 launch.

The Mercury Planetary Orbiter was placed inside the chamber in late October for ‘thermal–vacuum’ testing. It will sit in vacuum until early December, subjected to the equivalent temperature extremes that will be experienced in Mercury orbit.

Liquid nitrogen runs through the walls of the chamber to recreate the chill of empty space, while an array of lamps focuses simulated sunlight 10 times more intense than on Earth.

Tony De La Rosa

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #44 on: 04/02/2015 05:01 PM »
BepiColombo launch moved to 2017

30 March 2015

The launch of BepiColombo, an ESA mission to explore the planet Mercury in collaboration with the Japanese space agency, JAXA, is now planned to take place during a one month long window starting on 27 January 2017.

http://sci.esa.int/bepicolombo/55693-bepicolombo-launch-moved-to-2017/

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #45 on: 04/29/2015 03:54 PM »
Unboxing Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter flight model

Unboxing the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter at ESA’s Test Centre, Japan’s contribution to the joint BepiColombo mission to the innermost world of our Solar System.

MMO will sit at the top of the BepiColombo stack on launch in January 2017. It will be placed atop ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), which will be attached in turn to a carrier spacecraft, the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM), tasked with transporting the other two via highly efficient electric propulsion.

While MPO will go into an approximately 400 x 1500 km mapping orbit around Mercury, MMO will enter a highly elliptical orbit to study the planet’s enigmatically strong magnetic field.

The two spacecraft employ differing strategies to cope with temperatures in excess of 350°C involved in operating around the closest world to the Sun. The octagonal MMO will spin 15 times per minute to distribute heat evenly across its highly polished surface.

MPO, meanwhile, will maintain a steady attitude, covered with high-temperature insulation with a rear-facing radiator behind protective louvres that will dump waste heat into space.

But since MMO cannot spin during BepiColombo’s seven-year cruise phase, it will be fitted with a dedicated sunshield, the Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield and Interface Structure.

MPO has undergone thermal balance/thermal vacuum testing, with MTM scheduled to do the same towards the end of the year.

MMO’s arrival at ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on 20 April will allow follow-on mechanical testing of the complete stack, known as the Mercury Composite Spacecraft.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2015/04/Unboxing_Mercury_Magnetospheric_Orbiter_flight_model

Credit: ESA–A. Le Floc'h

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #46 on: 07/23/2015 01:59 PM »
BepiColombo antenna in LSS

The antenna that will connect Europe’s BepiColombo with Earth is being tested for the extreme conditions it must endure orbiting Mercury.

The trial is taking place over 10 days inside ESA’s Large Space Simulator, which, at 15 m high and 10 m across, is cavernous enough to accommodate an upended double decker bus.

The 1.5 m-diameter high-gain antenna, plus its boom and support structure, are subjected to a shaft of intense sunlight in vacuum conditions, while gradually rotated through 90º.

The antenna will be part of ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter, one of two main components of the January 2017 BepiColombo mission – the other being Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter.

The two will be launched together in a stack, carried by the Mercury Transfer Module for their seven-year journey towards the Solar System’s innermost world.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2015/07/BepiColombo_antenna_in_LSS

Image credit: ESA–A. Le Floc'h

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #47 on: 02/01/2016 11:14 AM »
Radio testing of BepiColombo orbiter

If ESA’s Mercury orbiter of the BepiColombo mission seems to stand at an unusual angle above its test chamber floor, that’s because it does – intentionally so.

The orbiter underwent ‘electromagnetic compatibility, radiated emission and susceptibility’ testing last month inside the Maxwell chamber of ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

Maxwell’s shielded metal walls and doors form a ‘Faraday cage’ to block unwanted external electromagnetic radiation, while its internal walls are cover with ‘anechoic’ radio-absorbing foam pyramids to mimic boundless space.

“We are performing two types of compatibility testing,” explained Marco Gaido, assembly, integration and test manager for BepiColombo.

“First, we are checking the craft is electrically compatible with the electrical field generated by the Ariane 5 launcher that will deliver it into orbit, with no possibility of interference with BepiColombo’s receivers.

“Secondly, we are testing if there is any risk of incompatibility between the different subsystems of the spacecraft itself when it orbits Mercury. In particular, we want to check that its trio of antennas on top can communicate properly with Earth.

“Accordingly, it was deliberately oriented to simulate a worst-case scenario for test purposes.”

The orbiter was positioned to allow deployment of its medium-gain antenna in terrestrial gravity. The high-gain antenna reflector meanwhile was deployed in a worst-case position, supported by a dedicated fixture.

The spacecraft was tilted by means of a large platform while the high-gain antenna was supported by a tower made of wood, transparent to radio waves. All test cables used were shielded to reduce potential interference.

ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter will be launched to Mercury together with Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter aboard an ESA-built carrier spacecraft, the Mercury Transfer Module. This entire three-module BepiColombo stack will undergo similar testing at ESTEC.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2016/01/Radio_testing_of_BepiColombo_orbiter

Image credit: ESA–G. Porter, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Offline Salo

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #48 on: 02/25/2016 05:33 PM »
https://www.communitynews.com.au/news/Watch-this-space-in-WA/7682573
Watch this space in WA

INTERNATIONAL space experts converged in New Norcia last week for the inauguration of an antenna at the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ground tracking station.

The antenna will be used to communicate with rockets and newly launched satellites.

It was opened after ESA had to retire its Perth antenna in Cullacabardee.

ESA ground stations infrastructure and operations head Yves Doat, who is based in Germany, said the antenna at New Norcia would enable the agency to continue its Perth operations.

“We have moved the tracking capabilities from Perth here so it is very important for us,” he said.

The 4.5m-diameter dish joins a 35m antenna, which combine to track satellites launched from the agency’s spaceport on the north coast of South America.

“It is the only location we have in this part of the world,” Mr Doat said.

“We have above WA the separation, the place where the spacecraft gets out of the launcher and that’s where we capture the spacecraft and we can track it.

“It is something that will be critical for our future launch and early orbit phase; this is when we launch new spacecraft into deep space.”

Mr Doat said the antenna provided vital support by driving the large antenna, which was too big to see spacecraft when they were separated from the launcher.

“We use the smaller antenna which we point towards the spacecraft and it drives the big antenna from there,” he said.

“Then with the big antenna we acquire the signal and follow the spacecraft until deep space is reached.”

It will be used to support high profile missions, including ExoMars, the joint mission to Mars with Russia and NASA in March, and BepiColombo, Europe’s mission to Mercury, in 2018.

“I am looking forward for this future mission like ExoMars and BepiColombo; this is fantastic to realise that we are travelling so far away and can follow them. The ground stations are a really fantastic world where we are the gateway to space. Without the ground station all the missions would not fly,” Mr Doat said.

He encouraged people to take an interest in the agency’s work.

“I think it’s important that everyone knows what we are doing,” he said.

“It’s not on every corner that we have installed a deep space station and it’s really a very interesting technology with fantastic results and for us it’s important to share it among the people, whether it’s in Europe or Australia.”
« Last Edit: 02/25/2016 05:35 PM by Salo »

Offline Star One

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ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #49 on: 04/28/2016 07:40 PM »
T6 ION THRUSTER FIRING

The eerie blue exhaust trail of an ion thruster during a test firing. A quartet of these highly efficient T6 thrusters is being installed on ESA’s BepiColombo spacecraft to Mercury at ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

The Mercury Transfer Module will carry Europe’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter together to Sun’s innermost planet over the course of 6.5 years.

“BepiColombo would not be possible in its current form without these T6 thrusters,” explains ESA propulsion engineer Neil Wallace.

“Standard chemical thrusters face a fundamental upper limit on performance, set by the amount of energy in the chemical reaction that heats the ejected propellant producing the thrust.

“Ion thrusters can reach much higher exhaust speeds, typically an order of magnitude greater, because the propellant is first ionised and then accelerated using electrical energy generated by the solar panels. The higher velocity means less propellant is required.

“The down side is that the thrust levels are much lower and therefore the spacecraft acceleration is also low – meaning the thrusters have to be operating for long periods.

“However, in space there is nothing to slow us down, so over prolonged periods of thrusting the craft’s velocity is increased dramatically. Assuming the same mass of propellant, the T6 thrusters can accelerate BepiColombo to a speed 15 times greater than a conventional chemical thruster.”

The 22 cm-diameter T6 was designed for ESA by QinetiQ in the UK, whose expertise in electric propulsion stretches back to the 1960s.

It is an scaled-up version of the 10 cm T5 gridded ion thruster, which played a crucial role in ESA’s GOCE gravity-mapping mission by continuously compensating for vestigial atmospheric drag along its extremely-low orbit.

http://m.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2016/04/T6_ion_thruster_firing
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 07:40 PM by Star One »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #50 on: 04/30/2016 04:29 PM »
T6 ion thrusters installed on BepiColombo

An array of four T6 thrusters – known as the Solar Electric Propulsion System –  being fitted to BepiColombo’s Mercury Transfer Module at ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre during April 2016. The MTM is a dedicated transport spacecraft that will carry Europe’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter together to the innermost planet from the Sun over the course of a 6.5-year cruise phase. The highly efficient T6 was designed for ESA by QinetiQ in the UK, whose expertise in electric propulsion stretches back to the 1960s.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2016/04/T6_ion_thrusters_installed_on_BepiColombo

Image credit: ESA–M. Gaido

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #51 on: 09/07/2016 02:14 PM »
Mercury Transfer Module with integrated ion thrusters

The base of ESA’s Mercury Transfer Module with its four T6 ion thrusters fully fitted for its 6.5 year journey to Mercury, along with the rest of the BepiColombo spacecraft.

The module will carry Europe’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter together to the Sun’s innermost planet.

“Completing the integration of the solar electric propulsion thruster floor is a major achievement for the BepiColombo project,” says project manager Ulrich Reininghaus.

The four ion thrusters are positioned at the bottom of the spacecraft, known as the ‘engine bay’, which provides the thrust during the mission’s journey, including long firing periods lasting several months at a time.

By ionising their propellant plume using electrical energy from the solar panels, the T6 thrusters can accelerate BepiColombo with an efficiency 15 times greater than a conventional chemical thruster.

The work took place at ESA’s centre in the Netherlands, the largest spacecraft testing facility in Europe.

The 22 cm-diameter T6 was designed for ESA by QinetiQ in the UK, whose expertise in electric propulsion stretches back to the 1960s.

It is a scaled-up version of the 10 cm T5 gridded ion thruster, which played a crucial role in ESA’s GOCE gravity-mapper by continuously compensating for vestigial atmospheric drag along its extremely low orbit.

Currently the Test Centre team is preparing the Large Space Simulator for a Sun simulation test planned for the end of this year.

“This will be a very challenging test,” says Georg Deutsch, ETS test programme manager. “Not only will the facility simulate a sun beam at 11000W/m2 but the facility’s vacuum pumps will have to cope with the release of Xenon gas caused by verifying the electrical propulsion system in vacuum”.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2016/09/Mercury_Transfer_Module_with_integrated_ion_thrusters

Image credit: ESA–U. Reininghaus

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #52 on: 11/30/2016 08:16 PM »
King Philippe views BepiColombo
 
HM King Philippe of the Belgians views the Mercury Planetary Orbiter spacecraft, part of the BepiColombo mission due to launch in 2018, inside the ESTEC Test Centre, during the royal visit to ESTEC on 29 November 2016.
 
Credit: ESA–G. Porter

Offline astropl

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #53 on: 12/10/2016 02:15 PM »
BepiColombo launch rescheduled for October 2018

Source.
Waldemar Zwierzchlejski (astropl)
http://lk.astronautilus.pl

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #54 on: 12/10/2016 08:59 PM »
My question: October 2018 will conflict with the also long-awaited and long-delayed launch of JWST. Will the Mercury mission take precedence due to the limited planetary launch windows?
***
BepiColombo launch rescheduled for October 2018
Source.
BepiColombo launch rescheduled for October 2018

25 November 2016
An ambitious, multi-spacecraft mission to explore the planet Mercury in unprecedented detail is now scheduled for lift-off from Europe's spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, in October 2018.

BepiColombo, a joint project of ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was scheduled for launch in April 2018, but the mission team has decided to delay lift-off for six months.

The decision was made after a major electrical problem was detected during preparations for a thermal test of the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM), one of the major spacecraft elements of BepiColombo.

"Launch during the April 2018 window will not be possible, due to a problem in one of the power processing units," said ESA's project manager, Ulrich Reininghaus. "We have identified the root cause, but both units will have to be recertified for flight and this is expected to put back our preparations by about four months. This means the earliest opportunity to launch will be October 2018."

The six-month postponement will have no impact on the science return of the mission. However, the new flight time to Mercury will be 7.2 years, and BepiColombo will now arrive in December 2025, one year later than previously anticipated. The seven-year cruise to the innermost planet of our Solar System will include 9 flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury.

"Unfortunately, we will have to wait longer than planned to reach Mercury," said Johannes Benkhoff, ESA's BepiColombo project scientist. "However, we have full confidence that the mission will be a success and return groundbreaking results."

BepiColombo comprises two scientific spacecraft: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). Both of these will be delivered to the smallest planet in the Solar System by the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM). Shortly before Mercury orbit insertion, the MTM will be jettisoned from the spacecraft stack.

The MTM, MPO and MMO are currently undergoing intensive tests in ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. Everything is going well with the MPO and MMO. The last of the instrument flight models was installed recently on the MPO.

Once the MTM is back on track, the entire BepiColombo stack will be subjected to vibration testing – expected in April next year.
« Last Edit: 12/10/2016 09:11 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline as58

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #55 on: 12/11/2016 04:27 PM »
If I remember correctly, when the mission got final approval in 2009 the launch was supposed to happen in 2014. BepiColombo has had a very troubled development.

Offline woods170

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #56 on: 12/12/2016 11:01 AM »
If I remember correctly, when the mission got final approval in 2009 the launch was supposed to happen in 2014. BepiColombo has had a very troubled development.
Courtesy of being a very complex mission with multiple "firsts".

Offline eeergo

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #57 on: 02/03/2017 10:47 AM »
-DaviD-

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #58 on: 03/07/2017 08:07 PM »
https://presse.cnes.fr/en/france-russia-space-cooperation-cnes-and-roscosmos-study-mercury-phebus-instrument-bepicolombo

Quote
CNES and Roscosmos have signed an agreement concerning the PHEBUS ultraviolet spectrometer designed to study Mercury’s exosphere as part of the science payload on the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) for the European Space Agency’s BepiColombo mission.

Quote
The Russian contribution is being led by IKI RAN, the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, mandated by Roscosmos. In France, the LATMOS atmospheres, environments and space observations laboratory, part of the national scientific research centre CNRS, has been selected for this mission.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2017 08:17 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #59 on: 03/07/2017 08:12 PM »
BepiColombo solar wing deployment test

ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter of the BepiColombo mission, with its 7.5 m-long solar wing fully extended.

The image was taken during testing carried out at ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands last month, prior to its launch in October 2018. It shows the ‘back’ side of the solar panels, with cabling that will eventually be connected to the main spacecraft body. One of the back panels is also reflective, to redirect stray light away from the spacecraft body.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2017/03/BepiColombo_solar_wing_deployment_test2

Image credit: ESA

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