Author Topic: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates  (Read 25586 times)

Online Chris Bergin

ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« on: 02/26/2007 01:08 PM »
BepiColombo, ESA's mission to explore planet Mercury, has been definitively 'adopted' by the Agency's Science Programme Committee (SPC) last Friday. The mission will now start its industrial implementation phase, to prepare for launch in August 2013.

More at:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMC8XBE8YE_index_0.html

Offline Orbiter Obvious

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #1 on: 02/26/2007 10:17 PM »
Interesting. That's a lot of money for ESA to be spending?

Offline mr.columbus

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #2 on: 02/27/2007 07:47 AM »
Quote
Orbiter Obvious - 26/2/2007  6:17 PM

Interesting. That's a lot of money for ESA to be spending?

Yes, Bepicolombo is one of ESA's large missions (650 million EUR range).

Here is are some tidbits from the Aviation week from Feb 2007 - the press release also gives a inside on the amount of medium and large missions in the 2015-2025 timeframe:
-------------------
The European Space Agency will split a €329-million ($424.4-million) prime contract for Bepi Colombo Mercury mission, the agency's next major science project, between Astrium and Alcatel Alenia Space. Astrium Germany will be overall prime contractor, with Astrium U.K. and Alcatel Alenia Italy as co-primes, says Jacques Louet, ESA's director of science projects. But Astrium Germany will shoulder the full program risk under a "political expedient" approved last week by ESA's industrial policy committee. The green light for the €665-million mission is to be given by ESA's science program board later this month, along with a call for ideas for the next round of science missions planned for 2015-25. Three large (€650-million) and three medium (€300-million) missions are expected to be proposed for the tender, expected to be realized in October. The first, a medium mission, would be launched around 2017. To ensure approval, Louet said, science planners will propose €200 million in cuts through 2015. The bulk of the savings--€110 million--will come by offering to merge ESA's Solar Orbiter mission with NASA's four-satellite Sentinel project, eliminating one Sentinel and carrying the four remaining units aloft on the same launcher, with shared instrument packages.
-------------------

Offline Stephan

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #3 on: 02/27/2007 06:07 PM »
I didn't know that it would be a joint mission with JAXA.
Any info about the kind of electric propulsion that will be used ?
Best regards, Stephan

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #4 on: 01/18/2008 07:27 PM »
The industrial development of BepiColombo, Europe's first mission to Mercury, has been officially kicked off. The prime contract, awarded by ESA to Astrium, was signed today during a ceremony that took place in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Full story:
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM7UR3MDAF_index_0.html

Online Jirka Dlouhy

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #5 on: 01/18/2008 08:00 PM »
Quote
jacqmans - 18/1/2008  9:27 PM

The industrial development of BepiColombo, Europe's first mission to Mercury, has been officially kicked off. The prime contract, awarded by ESA to Astrium, was signed today during a ceremony that took place in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Full story:
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM7UR3MDAF_index_0.html

This mission is developed in colaboration ESA and JAXA.

Good luck BepiColombo

Offline Fabien

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #6 on: 02/01/2008 05:47 AM »
Do we know precisely what engine will drive BepiColombo ? They have been aiming at using T6 from Qinetic a few years ago.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #7 on: 01/18/2011 02:06 PM »
ESA's Mercury mapper feels the heat
 
18 January 2011   
Key components of the ESA-led Mercury mapper BepiColombo have been tested in a specially upgraded European space simulator. ESA's Large Space Simulator is now the most powerful in the world and the only facility capable of reproducing Mercury's hellish environment for a full-scale spacecraft.

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMNBC6SXIG_index_0.html

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #8 on: 06/01/2011 09:26 AM »
Hot stuff: the making of BepiColombo

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMZEUISDNG_index_0.html
« Last Edit: 06/01/2011 12:27 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #9 on: 08/22/2011 01:16 PM »
ESA simulates scorching sunlight for BepiColombo mission to Mercury

22 August 2011

ESA is recreating the intense sunlight and sustained heat encountered around Mercury, the innermost planet of the Solar System, inside the largest vacuum chamber in Europe.
 
The Netherlands-based test campaign is evaluating ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), part of the multi-spacecraft BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

A highly accurate, full-scale engineering model of the final MPO arrived at ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk from Thales Alenia Space Italy in Turin on 29 July. It has since been placed inside the Large Space Simulator, the largest vacuum chamber in Europe, which is big enough to house an up-ended double-decker bus, and can maintain space-quality vacuum for weeks on end.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Space_Engineering/SEMEV8RTJRG_0.html

Offline bolun

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Online Chris Bergin

Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #11 on: 08/22/2011 02:23 PM »
Thread title changed to include JAXA on request.

Offline bolun

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Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #13 on: 09/15/2011 07:13 PM »
Arianespace to launch BepiColombo spacecraft on first European mission to Mercury

Evry, September 15, 2011

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace today announced the signature of a contract for the launch of the BepiColombo spacecraft, designed to explore the planet Mercury.

The launch is scheduled for July 2014, using an Ariane 5 ECA launcher from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

BepiColombo is a joint scientific mission led by ESA in conjunction with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The spacecraft comprises two probes that will be injected into separate orbits around the planet: ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), and JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO).

Each of these two probes will be fitted with a suite of high-precision instruments to carry out an exhaustive study of Mercury.

BepiColombo will be built by Astrium GmbH and weigh about 4,400 kg at launch. The spacecraft will leave the Earth with a hyperbolic excess velocity of 3.36 km/s.

After signing the contract, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said, "With BepiColombo, Europe continues to explore our Solar System. After Mars Express, Venus Express and the Huygens probe to Titan, we are now gearing up to explore a planet that is very close to the Sun, key to understanding the formation of our Solar System, and yet still very mysterious. For the European Space Agency, it's also an excellent example of scientific teamwork, since we are sharing this experience with the Japanese space agency. After the successful launch of Herschel and Planck back in 2009 and before the launch of the ATV-3 and Alphasat next year, Ariane 5 again demonstrates its extreme flexibility, which will soon be complemented by Soyuz and Vega.”

Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman & EO of Arianespace, added: "We are both proud and honored to be given this opportunity to support space science and serve the European Space Agency, teaming up with JAXA on this program. Arianespace deploys a complete range of launch vehicles, Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, to guarantee independent access to space for Europe and provide the most appropriate launch solutions for European government satellites."

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading launch service & solutions company, providing innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 21 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace offers an unrivalled family of launchers, comprising Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, and an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. As of 15 September 2011, Arianespace had launched with Ariane launchers a total of 296 payloads, including more than half of all the commercial satellites now in service worldwide. It has a backlog of 20 Ariane 5 and 17 Soyuz launches, equal to more than three years of business.

http://www.arianespace.com/news-press-release/2011/9-15-2011-BepiColombo.asp

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #14 on: 09/20/2011 10:20 AM »
BepiColombo Mercury explorer to be launched on Ariane
 
15 September 2011

Reaching one of the most mysterious planets in our Solar System takes enormous power and finesse. ESA has now firmly entrusted its precious Mercury explorer to Europe’s largest rocket – the Ariane 5.
 
ESA today signed the contract with Arianespace to launch its BepiColombo mission on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Europe's first mission to probe the Solar System's innermost planet will depart in July 2014.

BepiColombo's sensors will completely map Mercury at different wavelengths, charting the planet's mineralogy and elemental composition.

It will reveal the planet's interior structure and probe Mercury's magnetic field.

ESA is leading the mission, flying it in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The mission's two orbiters will be injected into separate orbits around Mercury: ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Japan's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter. 
 
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMPRL0UDSG_index_0.html

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #15 on: 11/30/2011 03:47 PM »
November 29, 2011 Updated

MMO flight model first integration test

The first integration test for the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) flight model is underway at the Flight Environment Test Building, Sagamihara Campus.

This test is the first comprehensive test on the satellite flight model to mainly verify the electric interface with signals and commands as well as the mechanical interface.

http://www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/bepi/index_e.html

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #16 on: 12/13/2011 01:18 PM »
Structural model of the BepiColombo Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter at ESTEC

07 Dec 2011

The BepiColombo Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter Structural Model arrived at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands on 7 November 2011, having been flown from Japan. In the coming weeks, the four components that make up the Mercury Composite Spacecraft will be prepared for integration into their launch configuration in preparation for an acoustic and mechanical test campaign.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=49739

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #17 on: 12/27/2011 02:55 PM »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #18 on: 02/29/2012 11:06 AM »
BepiColombo Mercury mission to be launched in 2015

28 Feb 2012

BepiColombo, an ESA mission to the planet Mercury in collaboration with the Japanese space agency, JAXA, is now planned for launch in a window opening in August 2015.

While ESA had previously been targeting a launch in July 2014, a 2015 option has always been built in to the development plan, as part of the risk mitigation strategy.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50105

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #19 on: 05/02/2012 01:44 PM »
BepiColombo Planetary Orbiter and Transfer Module mated for first time

27 Apr 2012 15:08

The Structural and Thermal Models of the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Mercury Transfer Module were mated for the first time on 11 April 2012. The mating was performed to accurately position the inter-module hardware on the transfer module.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50301

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #20 on: 07/11/2012 01:35 PM »
BepiColombo Composite Spacecraft Mass Properties Measurements at ESTEC

10 Jul 2012

The mass properties of the BepiColombo Mercury Composite Spacecraft have been measured. This is the first time that the spacecraft structural and thermal model has been fully integrated, producing the configuration in which it will be launched and effect the transfer to Mercury.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50552
« Last Edit: 07/12/2012 05:10 PM by Jester »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #21 on: 08/17/2012 08:04 PM »
Good vibrations for BepiColombo
 
17 August 2012

Mimicking the intense vibrations experienced by a satellite during launch, the engineering model of the BepiColombo mission to Mercury has been subjected to similar forces at ESA’s spacecraft test facilities.

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMSTQYXP5H_index_0.html

BepiColombo vertical vibration test



BepiColombo horizontal vibration test


Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #22 on: 08/27/2012 01:15 PM »
The shock of separation
 
27 August 2012

The BepiColombo mission to Mercury has undergone a series of shock tests at ESA’s test facilities to replicate conditions it will experience during its intense ride into space. This video shows tests to mimic the moment it separates from the launch vehicle.

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM4IA4Y96H_index_0.html

Simulating separation shock


Online plutogno

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #23 on: 09/10/2012 12:15 PM »
anybody has a detailed timeline of BepiColombo (flybys etc.) after the latest delay?
the ESA mission site http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=48871 only has the launch and arrival dates (15 August 2015 and 27 January 2022).
I have made a quick google search, but I have not found anything useful. most of the links date back to when BC was supposed to fly in 2014.

Offline nethegauner

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #24 on: 09/11/2012 03:19 PM »
anybody has a detailed timeline of BepiColombo (flybys etc.) after the latest delay?

One year after launch, the MCS will be back in Earth's vicinity to perform a gravity assist maneuver. Following that, two fly-bys at venus are planned to occur in 2016 with four Mercury fly-bys in the 2017 to 2019 time frame. Sorry, I do not have more specific dates for the 2015 launch scenario -- but how is that for a start?

Offline GClark

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #25 on: 09/11/2012 06:03 PM »
Does the plan still include phasing orbits and a Lunar flyby to depart Earth?
« Last Edit: 09/11/2012 06:11 PM by GClark »

Online plutogno

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #26 on: 09/11/2012 06:05 PM »
thanks everyone, but I was looking for more specific dates (at least month and year)

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #27 on: 09/12/2012 01:44 PM »
anybody has a detailed timeline of BepiColombo (flybys etc.) after the latest delay?
the ESA mission site http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=48871 only has the launch and arrival dates (15 August 2015 and 27 January 2022).
I have made a quick google search, but I have not found anything useful. most of the links date back to when BC was supposed to fly in 2014.

You have been looking very close.  ;)

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=47346

Quote
Key mission dates

Date                            Mission event
15 August 2015           Launch
14 August 2016           Earth flyby
25 November 2017      First Venus flyby
18 July 2018                Second Venus flyby
15 February 2019        First Mercury flyby
07 November 2019      Second Mercury flyby
26 January 2021          Third Mercury flyby
08 March 2021             Fourth Mercury flyby
27 January 2022          Arrival at Mercury
27 April 2023               End of nominal mission
27 April 2024               End of extended mission

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #28 on: 12/24/2012 12:34 PM »
December 20, 2012 Updated

BepiColombo: Development progressing smoothly

JAXA is performing a manufacturing test of the bus and the scientific equipment for the Mercury Magnetosphereric Orbiter (MMO) flight model.

Those devices whose manufacturing test has been completed are being installed into the satellite main body one by one. After all devices are assembled, the satellite will undergo further tests for about a year including the electrical system test and mechanical environment test.

http://www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/bepi/topics_e.html

Offline Jester

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #29 on: 02/14/2013 10:37 AM »
Currently at ESTEC doing bake out (almost done)

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=51335
« Last Edit: 02/14/2013 10:41 AM by Jester »

Offline woods170

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #30 on: 02/14/2013 10:48 AM »
Currently at ESTEC doing bake out (almost done)

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=51335

Recently (February 3rd) I was at a presentation at the Aviodrome in the Netherlands. Presentation was given by the ESA projectmanager for BepiColombo (Jan van Casteren). He told lot's of interesting stuff. Particularly about the way the orbital insertion of Bepi Colombo at Mercury will be handled.

Offline Prober

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #31 on: 02/18/2013 06:14 PM »
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline woods170

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #32 on: 02/19/2013 07:15 AM »
http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=51335

BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter Proto-Flight Mechanical and Propulsion Bus undergoes bake-out

05 Feb 2013 09:31
The BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter Mechanical and Propulsion Bus Proto-Flight Model (the structure with integrated heat pipes and chemical propulsion subsystem) has been baked out in the Phenix thermal vacuum facility at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

This process involved heating the MPB to 60 °C in a vacuum for 20 days to remove any contaminants that would outgas in space. Given the extremes of temperature to which BepiColombo will be exposed – in excess of 350 °C on the parts illuminated by the Sun, -120 °C or less on the parts exposed to cold space – prevention of outgassing is important because the outgassing products from the hot areas of the spacecraft may recondense on colder areas or be photochemically deposited on Sun-illuminated surfaces by ultraviolet radiation.


Offline Jester

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #33 on: 02/20/2013 09:54 AM »
And we got some snow in return of all those thermal tests..

P.S.
The 23 day bake-out is now done, and the new ESTEC Test Centre’s Phenix thermal vacuum facility worked great.
« Last Edit: 02/20/2013 09:56 AM by Jester »

Offline woods170

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #34 on: 03/01/2013 08:52 AM »
How to cook a spacecraft

27 February 2013

The faint aroma of hot metal filled the surrounding cleanroom as the hatch to ESA’s newest test facility was slid aside, concluding a 23-day ‘bake-out’ of the largest segment of ESA’s mission to Mercury.

Ending on the early hours of 14 February, this test ensured ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter – MPO, part of the multi-module BepiColombo mission – was cleaned of potential contaminants in advance of its 2015 mission to the inner Solar System.

The bake-out took place at ESA’s technical heart, ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, which includes a dedicated Test Centre equipped to simulate all aspects of the space environment.

MPO will fly to the innermost planet with Japan’s Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter, riding together on ESA’s propulsion module. But not before getting cooked first.

“Being close to Mercury and experiencing high temperatures, the release of molecules from spacecraft materials is expected to occur at higher quantities than for normal satellites,” explains Jan van Casteren, BepiColombo Project Manager.

“Such molecules are a contamination threat if they condense on sensitive surfaces, so we need to minimise outgassing in order to protect our delicate scientific instrumentation on the spacecraft.”

So an initial bake-out of the various spacecraft segments is essential for cleaning purposes – in this case MPO’s ‘Proto-Flight Model’, incorporating its propulsion system and heat pipes that regulate its temperature.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Technology/How_to_cook_a_spacecraft
« Last Edit: 03/01/2013 08:53 AM by woods170 »

Offline woods170

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #35 on: 03/01/2013 08:54 AM »
And we got some snow in return of all those thermal tests..

No surprise there with 1500 liters of liquid nitrogen going thru those systems every hour, for 23 days.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #36 on: 03/15/2013 08:46 AM »
The mercury rises for BepiColumbo

The Structural and Thermal Model of the BepiColombo Mercury Transfer Module in the Large Space Simulator at ESA’s test centre in the Netherlands. The image was taken on 20 February 2013 ahead of a 12-day Sun-simulation test that began 26 February.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/The_mercury_rises_for_BepiColombo

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #37 on: 10/04/2013 09:01 PM »
Two out of three modules of the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury, due to launch in 2015. The Mercury Transfer Module, bottom, will transport the mission to Mercury orbit using chemical and electric propulsion. The Mercury Planetary Orbiter, above it, will image the planet with a variety of cameras and spectrometers. In addition an additional module, Japan's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, not seen here, will study Mercury's mysteriously strong magnetic field.

Credit: ESA-Anneke Le Floc'h

Offline Jester

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #38 on: 10/04/2013 09:49 PM »
Thermal model on display, on sunday at ESTEC bay 4
« Last Edit: 10/04/2013 09:49 PM by Jester »

Offline Star One

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Re: ESA/JAXA - BepiColombo updates
« Reply #39 on: 07/10/2014 05:33 PM »
Quote
TURIN, Italy — Managers of Europe’s ambitious BepiColombo mission to Mercury, which began development with cost overruns and schedule delays, said the program has now stabilized and is on track to meet its mid-2016 launch date.

The mission, which includes a European orbiter, a Japanese orbiter and a transfer module to carry them to Mercury orbit, is now expected to cost the European Space Agency about 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion). That sum includes 170 million euros for launch aboard a European Ariane 5 ECA rocket, a 7.5-year voyage to Mercury orbit and at least two years of operations.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/41205after-early-difficulties-esa-led-mercury-mission-on-track-for-2016-launch

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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 »

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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

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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

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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/

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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

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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

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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

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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 »

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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 »

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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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.

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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".

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

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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 »

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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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