The BepiColombo Spacecraft on its way to Mercury !
It was in the very dark and humid night of French Guiana that the 16 instruments aboard the BepiColombo mission were launched on their way to Mercury by the Ariane 5 launcher on October 19 at 22H45. 76 min after the successful launch, the solar panels were properly deployed. BepiColombo, with its launch mass of more than 4 tons, is by far the most massive spacecraft using ion propulsion for its trajectory changes, so as to get into orbit around Mercury in December 2025. The nominal duration of the scientific mission will be one year. IAS actively participated in the SIMBIO-SYS instrument complex with the procurement of the main electronics under the responsibility of our late colleague Pascal Eng and the calibration of the integrated instrument (see previous news). SIMBIO-SYS combines 3 major instruments, a high resolution camera, a stereoscopic camera and a visible and near infrared hyperspectral imager, which will provide more than 50% of the science data from the European orbiter (“Mecury Planetary Orbiter”). IAS congratulate Arianespace, ESA and CNES for this successful launch.
Movie : launch of BepiColombo (Credit IAS/Mathieu Vincendon)
Fig 1 : BepiColombo starts its journey to Mercury (credit IAS/Chloë Guallar)
Fig 2 : First selfie (credit ESA)