Author Topic: Ariane 5 Flight VA245 - BepiColombo (MPO+MMO) - October 19 (Oct 20 UTC), 2018  (Read 14313 times)

Offline jacqmans

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Watch live as the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury is launched on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/BepiColombo/Watch_BepiColombo_launch

BepiColombo is the first European mission to Mercury, the smallest and least explored planet in the inner Solar System. It is the first Mercury mission to send two science orbiters to make complementary measurements of the planet’s dynamic environment at the same time.

A third module will transport the orbiters on the seven year cruise to Mercury, using a combination of solar electric propulsion and nine gravity assist flybys at Earth, Venus and Mercury.

Schedule (times subject to change):

03:15 CEST Start of live transmission

03:45 CEST Liftoff, followed by confirmation of acquisition of signal, expected around 40 minutes after launch

04:30 CEST End of live transmission

Offline jacqmans

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Signing BepiColombo fairing

Teams sign the fairing stickers on the BepiColombo launcher that will carry the mission into space.

BepiColombo is a joint endeavour between ESA and JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

 
Credits: ESA - M. Pedoussaut

Offline jacqmans

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-DaviD-

Offline Lewis007

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Attached are some mission factsheets / brochures etc.

Offline Star One

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BepiColombo stacked for launch.


Offline jacqmans

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October 17, 2018 

Ariane 5 has the “green light” for Arianespace’s launch with the BepiColombo space probe to explore Mercury

This week’s Ariane 5 flight that will send BepiColombo on its way to the planet Mercury has been approved for liftoff on October 19, following the launch readiness review held today at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Performed prior to each Arianespace flight, the launch readiness review validated the “go” status of the Ariane 5 ECA launcher version, the multi-segment BepiColombo spacecraft, as well as the Spaceport’s launch site infrastructure and the network of tracking stations.

With approval granted, Ariane 5 is cleared for rollout tomorrow from the Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone. Designated Flight VA245 in Arianespace’s numbering system, the launch will deploy its BepiColombo passenger during a 26-minute sequence – with liftoff set for a precise moment on October 19: 10:45:28, local time in French Guiana.

Mission to Mercury

BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Its Mercury Composite Spacecraft (MCS) consists of two orbiters: the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) and the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO); as well as two additional elements: the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM), and the Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield and Interface Structure (MOSIF). BepiColombo was built under the industrial leadership of Airbus, which heads a consortium of 83 companies from 16 countries.

After launch by Ariane 5, BepiColombo will arrive at Mercury in late 2025. During its one-year nominal mission (with a possible 1-year extension), the MPO and MMO will examine the peculiarities of Mercury’s internal structure and magnetic field generation, as well as how the planet interacts with the sun and solar wind. Goals of the mission also include investigating Mercury’s surface features and chemistry.

http://www.arianespace.com/mission-update/ariane-5-has-the-green-light-for-arianespaces-launch-with-the-bepicolombo-space-probe-to-explore-mercury/

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Offline jacqmans

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Offline jacqmans

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October 18, 2018 

Arianespace’s launch vehicle rollout brings BepiColombo space probe another step closer to Mercury

Ariane 5 has reached the launch zone for Arianespace’s history-making flight that will deploy Europe’s first mission to Mercury, BepiColombo – which is scheduled for liftoff tomorrow from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

The completed Ariane 5 was transferred today atop its mobile launch table from the Final Assembly Building, where payload integration occurred, to the Spaceport’s dedicated ELA-3 launch complex. This activity set the stage for Arianespace’s seventh mission in 2018 across its full family of heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium Soyuz and lightweight Vega vehicles.

Utilizing the Ariane 5 ECA version, Arianespace’s mission has a precise moment of liftoff: October 19 at 10:45:28 p.m. local time in French Guiana. The launcher subsequently will inject its payload into an Earth escape orbit during a mission lasting nearly 27 minutes from liftoff to final separation.

Exploring the solar system’s smallest terrestrial planet

Built under the industrial leadership of Airbus, BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. It was named in honor of Italian mathematician and engineer Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo.

After arriving in late 2025, the multi-segment spacecraft will examine the peculiarities of Mercury’s internal structure and magnetic field generation, as well as how the planet interacts with the sun and solar wind. BepiColombo is scheduled for a one-year nominal mission, with the possibility for a one-year extension.

Tomorrow’s flight is designated VA245 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system and has an estimated payload performance of 4,241 kg. It will be the 23rd major scientific mission performed by the company to date.

http://www.arianespace.com/mission-update/arianespaces-launch-vehicle-rollout-brings-bepicolombo-space-probe-another-step-closer-to-mercury/

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Offline jacqmans

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Awaiting final countdown

After years of planning and countless hours of simulations, mission teams at ESA’s control centre in Germany are ready to take flight on the long and complex journey to Mercury.

Years of planning and preparation have lead to this moment, and teams at ESOC have been working closely with teams across the Agency, as well as the many colleagues at scientific institutions, in European industry, and of course our mission partners at the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA).

BepiColombo — Europe’s first-ever mission to the innermost planet of our Solar System — will take seven years, travel nine billion km, and will use nine planetary flybys to reach its volatile destination, and it could not be in more experienced hands.

After completing months of simulations, culminating in the the final ‘dress-rehearsal’ on Wednesday, mission teams came together for the pre-launch briefing to confirm the status of all ground systems, ground stations and team readiness.

All systems are GO for launch at ESOC — Europe’s gateway to space.

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BepiColombo - orbit and timeline

Ariane 5 ready to launch BepiColombo

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Press release, 19 October 2018

BepiColombo mission: The long voyage to Mercury - European-Japanese mission to investigate the smallest planet in the Solar System 

The European-Japanese planetary mission BepiColombo is scheduled to take off from the European spaceport in French Guiana at 03:45 Central European Summer time on 20 October 2018 (22:45 on 19 October local time), on board an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
"Not only is the mission designed to investigate the planet Mercury, it will also deliver new insights into the Solar System," explains Walther Pelzer, Executive Board Member for the Space Administration at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum
fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). "Once again, by rising to this immense challenge, Japan is proving to be a dependable aerospace partner for Europe." The spacecraft's cosmic journey through the inner Solar System will last approximately seven years.

Two spacecraft will investigate Mercury together

BepiColombo is the most comprehensive European project to explore a planet in the Solar System to date. The mission consists of two orbiters that will circle Mercury – the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO).
While MPO is designed to investigate the surface and composition of the planet, MMO will analyse its magnetosphere. Other mission objectives include investigating the solar wind, the inner structure and the planetary environment of Mercury, as well
as its interaction with the environment nearest to the Sun. The scientists hope that this will also deliver new insights into the formation of the Solar System.

During the voyage, both orbiters will travel on board the Mercury Composite Spacecraft (MCS), which will supply them with power and, thanks to a special shield – the MMO Sunshield and Interface Structure (MOSIF) –  protect them from the extreme temperatures
that vary between 430 degrees Celsius on the planet’s day side and minus 180 degrees Celsius on the night side.

MERTIS and BELA – Use of sensors under extreme conditions

Of the 16 instruments on board the two spacecraft, three were primarily developed in Germany: BELA (BepiColombo Laser Altimeter), MPO-MAG (MPO Magnetometer) and MERTIS (Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared Spectrometer). MERTIS is an infrared imaging
spectrometer and radiometer with two radiation sensors that will operate in the wavelength region of seven to 40 micrometres. Once in orbit, MERTIS will study the surface and interior of Mercury aboard MPO. With a spatial resolution of 500 metres,
it will identify rock-forming minerals on the surface in the mid-infrared range.

Knowledge of the mineralogical composition allows scientists to make statements about the evolution of the planet. In addition, an integrated micro-radiometer will provide data on the surface temperature and thermal conductivity of Mercury. Thanks
to an innovative instrument concept, MERTIS is extremely compact and energy-efficient. "Both MERTIS sensors are unique," says the DLR experiment manager Joern Helbert and adds: "The imaging channel uses a so-called uncooled microbolometer – the first
to be space-qualified in Europe – using a sensor measuring only three by one millimetre, which was made from one piece of silicon and also serves as a slit for the spectrometer. These are just two of a number of innovative technologies developed specifically
for this experiment." The team is headed by scientists from the University of Muenster and the DLR Institute of Planetary Research. The experiment is managed by the DLR Institute of Optical Sensor Systems, which designed and developed MERTIS. The operation
is carried out under the direction of the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, while the scientific evaluation of the data is carried out with the University of Münster.

The BELA laser altimeter provides information about the global shape, rotation and topography of the planet closest to the Sun. Every second it sends 10 laser pulses towards Mercury and receives the signal reflected from the surface in a fraction of
a second. The higher a landscape point is located, the shorter the time required for the laser pulse to travel to the surface and from there to BELA’s sensor. From the duration of millions of laser pulses, a 3D model of the entire surface of Mercury
will emerge in the course of the mission. "In addition, we can use the shape of the reflected pulses to determine the surface roughness, which helps us better understand the physical and geological processes shaping the planet," explains Hauke Hussmann,
scientific project manager of BELA. Sophisticated protective measurements and comprehensive heat and light protection prevent the instrument from overheating or radiation damage to occur due to the extreme temperatures on the planet. BELA was developed
and built by DLR in collaboration with the University of Bern, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia and industry. The operation and scientific evaluation of the data takes place under the direction
of the DLR Institute of Planetary Research.

The MPO-MAG experiment is a high-resolution digital magnetometer. As already discovered by the Mariner 10 probe, Mercury is surrounded by a magnetic field with a strength that corresponds to one percent of the Earth's magnetic field. In MPO-MAG, two
sensors are used on one of the MPO's arms to investigate Mercury's magnetic field. One of the goals is also the exploration of the internal structure of Mercury. Karl-Heinz Glassmeier from the Institute for Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics (IGEP)
of the Technical University of Braunschweig is scientifically responsible.

The long journey through space

It will take BepiColombo approximately seven years to reach Mercury. During this time, the spacecraft will perform several swing-by manoeuvres past Earth and Venus and even six at Mercury itself before being directed into its final orbital trajectory
at its destination planet. During these swing-by manoeuvres, the spacecraft uses the gravitational force of celestial bodies to gather momentum for its continued travel through space, or, and also, to decelerate. For an orbit to be achieved, the probe
must not only greatly reduce its velocity at Mercury, but also counteract the Sun's enormous gravitational pull. MERTIS will already be performing measurements during the swing-bys of Earth and Venus. Once it has arrived at Mercury, BepiColombo will
collect data for approximately one year.

Mercury – Our 'unknown' neighbour in the Solar System

Mercury is more than just the smallest planet. With a diameter of 4878 kilometres it is barely larger than the Moon. It is also the least researched of the Solar System's Earth-like planets in our solar system. Above all, this is due to the fact that
it is the closest neighbour to the Sun, which blasts the surface with radiation six times higher than on Earth, causing temperatures to rise to as high as 430 degrees Celsius during the day, before cooling down to even minus 180 degrees Celsius at
night. Only two spacecraft have visited Mercury in the past: NASA's Mariner 10 performed three fly-bys past Mercury in 1974 and 1975, while the NASA probe MESSENGER performed three fly-bys and circled our neighbour while approaching the northern hemisphere
of our planetary neighbour on an exploratory mission between 2011 and 2015. BepiColombo will complement the Messenger mission perfectly, as the southern hemisphere can now be captured accurately as well. At the same time, completely new investigations
will be carried out. No instruments on MESSENGER observed the planet in the mid-infrared range. Therefore, MERTIS will supply a completely new dataset.

Close European-Japanese cooperation

ESA is responsible for the overall mission, and the agency was also responsible for developing and building the Mercury Planetary Orbiter. The Japanese space agency JAXA contributed the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter. The German part of the BepiColombo
mission was coordinated and largely financed by DLR Space Administration using funds provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The two instruments BELA and MERTIS, which were largely developed by the DLR Institutes
of Planetary Research and Optical Sensor Systems in Berlin-Adlershof, were essentially financed from means provided by DLR Research and Technology. The mission also received support from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Goettingen,
the University of Muenster and TU Braunschweig. A European industrial consortium led by the firm Airbus Defence and Space is contributing the industrial part of the spacecraft.

Offline Star One

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ESA Euronews setting off to Mercury with BepiColombo

« Last Edit: 10/19/2018 04:21 PM by Star One »

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ESA photos from flickr

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