The tenth webinar organized by ISSI-BJ in the context of its online seminar series on ongoing and future space missions called "On Things to Come".
BepiColombo was launched on 20 October 2018 the BepiColombo from the European spaceport in French Guyana and is now on route to Mercury to unveil Mercury’s secrets. BepiColombo with its state of the art and very comprehensive payload will perform measurements to increase our knowledge on the fundamental questions about Mercury’s evolution, composition, interior, magnetosphere, and exosphere. BepiColombo is a joint project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and consists of two orbiters, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (Mio).
The BepiColombo will perform nine planetary flybys during its 7-year long journey to the innermost terrestrial planet. During this cruise phase BepiColombo is in a so called “stacked” configuration where the two spacecraft are sitting on top of a transfer spacecraft. Only in late 2025, this configuration is abandoned and the individual elements spacecraft are brought in to their final Mercury orbit: 480x1500km for MPO, and 590x11640km for Mio. The mission has been named in honor of Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo (1920–1984), who was a brilliant Italian mathematician, who made many significant contributions to planetary research and celestial mechanics.
On its way BepiColombo has several opportunities for scientific observations - during the cruise into the inner solar system and during nine flybys (one at Earth, two at Venus and six at Mercury). However, since the spacecraft is in a stacked configuration during the flybys only some of the instruments on both spacecraft will perform scientific observations.
A status of the mission and its instruments with special emphasis on the MPO (since further talks on Mio and dedicated instruments will follow in the weeks after) will be given.
Alternative link (Bilibili): https://live.bilibili.com/22671469
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