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Post Info TOPIC: BepiColombo Mission


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ESA simulates scorching sunlight for BepiColombo mission to Mercury

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.

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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.
The Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) has survived a simulated voyage to the innermost planet. The octagonal spacecraft, which is Japan's contribution to BepiColombo, and its ESA sunshield withstood temperatures higher than 350°C.

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Japan launches Mercury mirror space craft mission

Encouraged by the success of two recent space missions, The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency believes that the mirrors will help the probe to survive temperatures on the surface of the planet, the sun's nearest neighbour.
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Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter
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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, recently gave the press a look at the almost-completed prototype of a space probe scheduled to depart for Mercury in summer 2014--a unique creation entirely covered with mirrors.
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun in this solar system, and temperatures on its surface climb as high as 450 C. Therefore the probe's most important challenge is to withstand the heat.

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Science delegations to the European Space Agency have approved a much more expensive mission to Mercury.
BepiColombo, due for launch in 2014, was supposed to have cost Esa about 665m euros (£595m; $995m).
But meeting the challenge of building a probe able to survive the torrid heat and radiation at the innermost world has pushed that price up to 970m euros.

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Mission to Mercury
The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that its newest satellite, called BepiColombo, will travel to Mercury using ion-electric thrusters developed by U.K. company QinetiQ.

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British scientists have been given the go ahead to begin creating the most fuel efficient engine ever to leave the ground for a spaceship bound for Mercury.
The Star Trek-style ion engine powering the BepiColumbo spacecraft on its six-year journey to the solar system's innermost planet will achieve the equivalent of 17.8 million miles to the gallon.

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Ed ~ The Spacecrafts name is BepiColombo

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The European Space Agency and Astrium jointly invite the media to attend a press conference on the occasion of the industrial contract signature of BepiColombo, the first European mission to Mercury. The event will be held at Astrium Friedrichshafen on 18 January 2008.

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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.
 BepiColombo is the next European planetary exploration project, and will be implemented in collaboration with Japan. A satellite 'duo' – consisting of an orbiter for planetary investigation and one for magnetospheric studies – will reach Mercury after a six-year journey towards the inner Solar System, to eventually perform the most extensive and detailed study of the planet ever performed so far.
The 'Mercury Planetary Orbiter' (MPO) will be under ESA responsibility, while the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) will be under the responsibility of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The Mercury Transfer Module (MTM), also under ESA responsibility, will provide the electrical and chemical propulsion required to perform the cruise to Mercury. These three modules assembled together for the launch and cruise phase make up a single composite spacecraft.

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