Astrophysics (Index)About


(mission to Mercury)

BepiColombo is a space probe developed by ESA and JAXA, to reach and investigate Mercury. It was launched in October 2018 to arrive in December 2025 for 1 year of scientific investigation. It uses solar electric propulsion to produce an ion thrust (an ion engine), and on the trip, will perform a number of flybys past Earth, Venus, and Mercury. Use of multiple flybys enables a very efficient flight design, making solar power feasible despite its limitations, but lengthening the time needed to teach the destination.

Included are two orbiters to be deployed at the final arrival:

A possible third module, MSE, the Mercury surface element, to land for about a week's operation, was canceled.

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
European Space Agency (ESA)
ion engine