BepiColombo prepares for a difficult maneuver over Mercury. He will go "against" the sun

The mission of the European and Japanese space agencies BepiColombo is preparing for the second approach to Mercury. It

will take place on June 23rd. The ESA Space Shuttle Operations Team guides BepiColombo through the planet's six gravitational assistants before entering its orbit in 2025.

As during the first meeting last year, duringduring this week's flyby time, the spacecraft will rise to an altitude of about 200 km above the surface of Mercury. The closest approach is expected at 12:44 Moscow time.

Key moments during BepiColombo's second flyby of Mercury on June 23, 2022.
Credit: European Space Agency

The main purpose of the flyby is to use gravityplanets to fine-tune BepiColombo's trajectory. The ship was launched into space on the Ariane 5 spacecraft from the European Kourou spaceport in October 2018. BepiColombo uses nine planetary flybys: one on Earth, two on Venus and six on Mercury, as well as the spacecraft's solar electric propulsion system. It will help guide it into the orbit of Mercury against the huge gravitational pull of our Sun. This is a difficult maneuver for a ship.

During the rendezvous, three surveillance camerasBepiColombo will more accurately show the surface of the planet. Also, several instruments will monitor magnetic fields and the state of plasma and particles both near and far from the planet.

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