Oct 2, 2021

BepiColombo Meets Mercury for the First Time on October 1

Posted by in category: space

BepiColombo will complete its first of six Mercury flybys on October 1st. Some cameras will be operating so we’ll get some images. Some science, too.

BepiColombo made a quick visit to Venus in August and is on to its next rendezvous. On October 1st it’ll perform a flyby of Mercury, the spacecraft’s eventual destination. This visit is just a little flirtation—one of six—ahead of its eventual orbital link-up with Mercury in late 2025.

The quick visit will yield some scientific results, though, and they’ll be just a taste of what’s ahead in BepiColumbo’s one-year mission to Mercury.

BepiColombo is on a bit of a tour of the inner regions of the Solar System on its way to Mercury. The complicated route full of flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury is the only way to get the spacecraft into orbit at Mercury. BepiColombo launched in October 2018 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Then it travelled through space for a year and a half before returning to Earth for a gravity-assist manoeuvre that directed it toward Venus.

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