BepiColombo

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BepiColombo

BepiColombo is a European Space Agency (ESA) Cornerstone mission to Mercury. The mission is still in the planning stages so changes to the current description are likely over the next few years. Due to budgetary constraints the lander portion of the mission (The Mercury Surface Element, or MSE) has been cancelled. However, Russia is interested in contributing with a lander as well as a few science instruments. [1] (http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/ESA_Permanent_Mission_in_Russia/SEM8NFW4QWD_0.html) The mission as currently envisioned involves two components: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). The two components could be launched together (on an Ariane 5) but the more likely baseline scenario at present is two launches on Soyuz-Fregat boosters in 2011 to 2012. The spacecraft will have a 3.5 year interplanetary cruise to Mercury using solar-electric propulsion and Moon, Venus, and Mercury gravity assists.

BepiColombo is named for Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo (1920-1984), scientist, mathematician and engineer at the University of Padua, Italy.

External links

nl:BepiColombo

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